AP NEWS

Aaryanna Herrera The fish bowl

May 20, 2019

Editor’s note: Greenwich High School junior Aaryanna Herrera won second place in the 2019 Alma Rutgers Defining Diversity Writing Contest, run by the Greenwich First Selectman’s Diversity Advisory Committee. This is her winning entry:

Within the land of Greenwich lies a wide fish bowl,

Inside it lies an acre of rocks, tables, and houses.

Surrounding it is miles of seaweed and coral

Protecting a school of teenage fry.

When the sun glimmers over the sea, crowds of fish scatter through the halls,

Eagerly swimming as if escaping the fisher’s net.

Each cave bears a different name;

It is a place for education and socialization.

On the exterior walls, pale, clean fish scales shine brighter than the rest,

Creating an illusion that pale fish are the only species residing in the school.

Yet, when one views the fish bowl closer from its glass walls

There is actually a mix of other colors that shine within.

Like orange mollies that venture humbly in higher classes,

Zebrafish roaming alone to sulk in peace,

Angel fish gathering near the glass reflection to fix their looks,

And gluttonish catfish eating scraps off the floor.

Kissing gouramis fixate on their lover before heading into class;

A common, deep enduring love until a new fish enters the bowl.

Swordtails challenge the older fish for power,

A personality perfect for these future coral salesman.

Jack Dempseys out-train each other to be the fittest of the team,

Clownfish continue to make desperate attempts to entertain the class,

Algae eaters stay stuck to the glass walls, oblivious to their GPA,

And guppies remain intimidated by the size and noise of the fish bowl.

This diverse set of fish all eat the same flakes,

Share the same place for break, music, commonality.

While some migrate in different places of the cafeteria to their own kind,

There isn’t much dispute among the fish.

But, there is a place so near the fishbowl where few fish seldom visit.

A sharp, schism in the rock wall that opens to a smaller tank.

There is no sign for this place like the other houses,

Nor a rocky staircase to welcome the fish.

But rather two, anonymous doors

Covered by the shadow of the upper staircase.

Glued shut windows,

And colorless walls.

This place is shunned from light,

Particles of waste are visible to the naked eye,

Walls dressed in algae and seaweed,

With narrow tunnels and rooms.

In this place, there’s no longer any pale mollies, angel fish, or swordtails.

Instead, this place filled with mostly medicated zebrafish,

Sluggish piranhas that sometimes refuse to work,

And artistic black mollies that loathe their work.

Each fish has great potential to attend higher classes.

Their supervisors are well trained and have great motives

But, the tank remains hidden beneath the shadow of the staircase —

Looked down upon by fellow classmates as they swim upstairs.

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