Saturday, 13 October 2012

Out of my depth

They’re trained to look for signs:
like me, jittery in the fish aisle
with wild staring eyes.
Rising panic – credit card or cash?
loyalty card and coupons.
Help I am out of my depth!

What I really need is
a hand firmly under my chin
to drag me out of the waves of
mothers with small children
before I fall under the wheels
of pushchair and trolley.
Help, help – I am out of my depth!

Home brand, buy local, food miles
fair-trade, organic, gluten-free
special offer, buy one get one free.
Help – I am out of my depth!

This stupid trolley
with its wonky wheel
is pulling me under, I’m
weak and goosefleshed as
battery chicken in the chiller cabinet,
lost as a lone tahini abandoned near the jam
Other shoppers basking in
the warm glow of the bread aisle.
unaware that danger lurks.
Help – I am out of my depth!

The cry goes up
– a few strong strokes
and the supermarket
lifeguard is by my side,
dragging me to the shallows of ten items of less.
People stop to gawp
and as I thrash wildly
amongst the salty snacks
it sounds a bit like applause.

© Clare Kirwan

Shoppers baffled by promotions overload