Prompted poetry: 5 a.m./supermarket in California

Some of the prompts from 30/30 Poetry have seemed a bit strange to me this year, but I’ve decided that’s a good thing because it stretches me. Yesterday’s prompt (supermarket in California) just left me scratching my head…until I glanced back at Thursday’s prompt (5 a.m.) and something clicked.

The supermarket at 5 a.m. is a place of quiet
industry. No elderly couple blocks the aisle
to argue about gefilte fish. No piercing
toddler wail tracks a mother’s progress
through the building. No man consults
a cell phone before a confounding wall of soup.

Stock clerks tidy shelves. The bakery fills
the air with delicious warmth. Sprinklers
hiss softly over the produce. Slicers whir
behind the deli and meat counters. Voices
rise and fall, indistinct above the gentle
drone of the refrigerated cases.

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4 responses to “Prompted poetry: 5 a.m./supermarket in California

  1. Lovely. You describe it so well. I quite like that white noise from the refrigerators. Barely audible, but you miss it when it’s gone.
    Do you ever notice how it becomes too quiet when the electricity goes off temporarily?

    • Thanks, Olivia. 🙂 It is quite eerie when the power goes out — we don’t realize how accustomed we are to all those background noises until they aren’t there. Of course, the absolute darkness can be a bit unnerving, too. 😉

  2. Makes me want to do my shopping at 5 a.m. I particularly liked the “piercing wail tracking the mother’s progress across the building”. Will miss you at the meeting tonight.

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