Lalita Noronha

The Aquarium: Lalita Noronha

The Aquarium

When we parted, I took the aquarium
we’d bought with rolled up pennies, twenty dollars in all.
For thirty-two years that fish tank shimmered color;
red sword tails, silver dollars, guppies,
a forked tail paradise gourami
with bright orange stripes
and metallic blue spots over its body.

Now the tank needs a new filter system,
new thermometer, sump pump, plants, stones,
new fish teeming with colors of the rainbow,
in a new home.

Yet I keep this old aquarium ─
my anchor to where I’ve been ─
unwilling to start all over,
in the heat of memory and uncertainty
once again.

Lalita Noronha is a scientist, poet and writer. She is the author of a short story collection, Where Monsoons Cry which won the Maryland Literary Arts Award and two poetry books, Her Skin Phyllo-thin and Mustard Seed: A Collage of Science and Art Poetry. She has received three Maryland Individual Artist Awards in three different genres (poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction) and Pushcart Prize nominations in Poetry and Creative Nonfiction. She has been featured a few times on National Public Radio, and is an editor for the Baltimore Review.