Sonic Boom

It knocked you for seven
in the frozen aisle.

It wasn’t sound.
It was faster than that.

You’re going through
the ice box,

rooting for peas
when, with a BOOM,

you have your life
play the drums

in your ears.
You hear the past crackle

against the present
and the present

seizes up
like the tins

barely clinging
to their shelves,

like the cereals,
in quiet detonation,

on their racks.

The end is nigh.
You make it out.

All you wanted were peas
but haven’t we all been lost

in a grocery store?
Haven’t you woken like you slept

on a funny bone before?
Faster than this,

the speed of this.
Faster than.

And now, a tinnitus:
a plane snoring overhead

as the seconds advance,

There’s the whirr
of the freezing aisle,

its banality.
You paralyse

and think of every way
you never lived.

The sound cuts.
The dust falls.

And you see her
in gentle debris.

Paces away,
you hold one another

in a gaze:
an elderly woman

in a duffle coat,
her togs undone.

Her eyes are frost.
She’s masked

and you’re a gasp
apart, but you know

her lips are glass, chapped
silent, in smithereens.

It’s like she’s been cut
from card. Out of a box

of coco pops.
Out of the din.

And you know
you look the same really.

And you know
that you don’t know

how to advance.
But you know that

you’ll wake up tomorrow
knowing that you’d rather wake.

And it’s then that you snap
up the peas from the box

and head out the back
to check out.



Alice Murray is a young poet living in North London. She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2020 and is currently studying for an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London.