NEW AGE BEVERAGES, and other ironies by Jennifer Thomas

NEW AGE BEVERAGES, and other ironies



Her three year old grandson is dead.
When I go to her house with fried chicken, potato salad,
I learn that her “land line” is also dead,
Out of service.
She calls family back home on her cell phone,
While I sit in the driveway,
My car idling, to call (from my cell phone being charged)
Co-workers, work friends
To coordinate
Food for a post-funeral meal.
I also call her service provider.

“You have reached F—— Communications”
The chirpy recorded voice replies,
“our offices are closed for the extended holiday weekend.
If you need assistance, go to our website.”
The website advises me and other viewers
To call their 800 number…
Deeper in the site there are directions to go
To their facebook page
To submit a form for repair service on line.


Once the earth was without form and “darkness
Was on the face of the deep”;
Water was water
The stuff of life
From which all new life emerged.
That is science for you—
If you have no other mythology.

And even now
If the face of your earth is cracked from dryness
If the shooting corn withers
Water is just water
That stuff of life.

But here
In our industrialized world
Whole aisles in superstores
Are devoted to water
Not just ordinary water
But new age beverages, or so they’re marketed:
Lemon grass flavored, infused with ginseng
B-6 combo for endurance,
Special blends for runners to replace electrolytes,
And one even called “Tsunami”
For the magnitude of thirst it quenches.
But if
Your child is dying of thirst
Any water will do
Even cloudy water
Brown with silt
Infused with microorganisms;
That water you carry back
In a jar on your head
From the river.


The whole world becomes
More fragile
Every day
And we talk about it more
Communicate instantaneously
As satellites race in
The path of stars.

Tonight I watched then,
Those stars, brilliant beyond streetlights
I watched as the blinking green light
Of an airplane
Streamed through the Big Dipper,
Just below its handle.

We are all broken vessels now, I’m afraid,
The stuff of life pouring out,
Children dying right before our eyes.

By: Jennifer Thomas

Jennifer Thomas is the Institute Coordinator for the Vermont Law School Institute for Energy and the Environment. She earned her BA in English literature and theology at Houghton College and her MA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Binghamton University.

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