I have this theory,
That for six days, I could maybe keep a goldfish alive long enough so that I could see you again.
On day one, I would watch the salesman pull it out from its home, and tuck it into a bag filled with more air than water.

On day two, I would search up a name to give it.
A name that would trap the energy of the way I used to say my your name on my lips,
and the way my tongue tapped the backs of my teeth so gently.
On day three, I would pretend that it is its birthday
just so I wouldn’t have to feel like I missed out on so much of your life already.
On day four, I would swish my fingers around the tank,
watching the water bounce off the walls like the way I did when you put me on your lap,
and balanced me like I was on a seesaw.
On day five, I would feed it too much because I liked seeing the way it formed little o’s with its mouth,
because to me it seemed like you were trying to speak after days of being silent.
On day six, I would change the water in my fish tank,
hoping that this time  a drop in there somewhere once rolled down your cheek because
God I feel like I might kill this fish soon
and I just really want to see you again.


Inara Lalani is a sixteen y/o that is buried beneath her words that are scattered across the world with the turbulence of airplane flights. She writes on Tumblr here ( and here (

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.

One thought on “AN AQUARIUM FOR THE DEAD| Inara Lalani

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