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American Life in Poetry

My parents didn’t live long enough to be confronted with the notion of paying for a bottle of water. They’d be horrified. Pay for water? Who ever heard of such a thing? Well Here’s a good poem by Kim Dower, who lives in Los Angeles, about what we go through to quench our thirst today.

Bottled Water

I go to the corner liquor store

for a bottle of water, middle

of a hectic day, must get out

of the office, stop making decisions,

quit obsessing does my blue skirt clash

with my hot pink flats; should I get

my mother a caregiver or just put her

in a home, and I pull open the glass

refrigerator door, am confronted

by brands – Arrowhead, Glitter Geyser,

Deer Park, spring, summer, winter water,

and clearly the bosses of bottled water:

Real Water and Smart Water – how different

will they taste? If I drink Smart Water

will I raise my IQ but be less authentic?

If I choose Real Water will I no longer

deny the truth, but will I attract confused,

needy people who’ll take advantage

of my realness by dumping their problems

on me, and will I be too stupid to help them

sort through their murky dilemmas?

I take no chances, buy them both,

sparkling smart, purified real, drain both bottles,

look around to see is anyone watching?

I’m now brilliantly hydrated.

Poem copyright 2012 by Kim Dower from Barrow Street, (Winter 2012/13), by permission of Kim Dower and the publisher and reprinted by permission of the author and publisher. American Life in Poetry is supported by The Poetry Foundation and the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


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