by James S. Wilk

Fins shimmer with kaleidoscopic reds.
Tails oscillate beneath fluorescent lights.
Gills flicker gold and blue, and silver heads
dart through the plastic greenery for bites
of algae—underwater butterflies,
care-free, fluttering through the liquid skies.

Out in the street, Justin, the neighbor girl,
Alexis, and the other children slalom
through trash cans on the curb. Bicycles whirl,
a flashing red, blue, gold and silver column
with knees and sinews straining in the sun,
pedaling up the sidewalk, one by one.

Danios cruise the surface. Tetras glow
like fireworks, skittish sparks that dart at random
through roomy middle depths. But down below,
mating, the mollies undulate in tandem,
the thin, bright male and ripe soon-to-be mother
wriggling from one end of the tank to the other.

Some kid coasts way ahead. The youngest lags
behind, on training wheels. But in-between,
Alexis copies Justin’s zigs and zags,
wheels almost touching in their serpentine
course past my door, smiling at one another,
giggling from one end of the block to the other.