The Wonderland Aquarium

By Keira Clements


Zen Garden by Gaby Saldana



lionhead, angelfish, diamond tetra, clownfish

foggy hands pressed up to glass

inquisitive wonder 

children of the world

gazing at the unknown

posing a million questions about 

the belly of the hatchetfish 

the wide tail of the guppy and

the flintstone eyes of the shark

captive miracles in a water globe


youth seeks to understand 

where life comes and goes

so by nature the kids weave 

a million stories about 

the fish kept inside the tank


how those glassy eyes are marbles 

enchanted by a seafaring sorcerer

forever imbued with the magic 

to live and die in water


how if you eat enough swordfish

you’ll sprout blades for arms 

and resign to life in the sea

slowly folding inward

til your arms outstretch your body


how anyone can be a fish

the cats and dogs

the mice and flies

who covet the ocean 

for its cleanliness


they say it’s a peaceful life 

in the deep sea 

where the currents are cool 

and the sand is baked warm 

like the skin of a lover


they say that fish colors 

are derived from the clothes 

one wears on transformation,

hence why we should 

always dress nice cause

you never know when a life

of monotony will give way

to a life in the sea


adult amusement keeps us 

wondering whether to confer 

the truth upon the children

but our guts say don’t worry about it

greatness is bound to leap from fantasy

so we tend to rest our tongues

and leave them to their dreams


clownfish, diamond tetra, angelfish, lionhead

children chatter about rainbow eyes

knitting an alternate world 

with its roots bound in mystery

but look closely at the tank and 

see those million tales written there

engraved in glistening scales