25th Anniversary Online Issue 25 Uncategorized

Ronald Reagan’s Aquarium by David Lee Garrison

Visual art by Aaron Lelito 




Neon Tetras, Tiger Barbs,

and Rainbow Sharks

swim round and round

through seaweed and ferns,

over moss and ornaments

nestled in the coral

and lava rock of the aquarium

Nancy Reagan has placed

in her husband’s study.


Deep in dementia,

the President watches

from an armchair and fixates

on a miniature resin replica

of the White House.

He rolls up a sleeve

and lifts it out of the tank,

rubbing with his fingers

until the windows,

doors, and columns are dry.


When his wife checks on him

he hides the thing in his hands,

embarrassed by his obsession.

She wants to see

what he’s gripping so tightly,

has to pull it away from him.

“Do you know what this is?”

she asks.  “No,” he answers,

in tears of frustration, “but it has

something to do with me.”