Where I’m from & My Underwater World

My Underwater World

Bobbing up and down

gliding in a vertical motion

cutting through the water.

Legato movements

almost ghost like.

Surrounded by

clear fresh water,

seaweed covered bottom

sunlight hitting the surface.

Each one with their own shade of


The shade of grass

of emerald

or unripe tomatoes

of mint and rosemary

of lime

and of pine trees.

Each with their own unique texture

imprinted on their curved bodies.

As I silently watch, admiring the peaceful creatures

I see quiet

but regal.

Minding their own business, living in their own seahorse world.

Tucked away in their shells

each with their own pattern

hexagons and designs of the wind

or sloppy circles of a dark shade on a background of light

like a piece of wooden furniture.

They look like space crafts hovering in the water.

The mix of brown and dark greens

make them seem part of the earth.

I watch, curiosity rushing through my blood.

I see vivacious and carefree, as if he broke through his shell

ready to face the world

but then shy and insecure

feeling vulnerable

and he crawls back into his shell, terrified

as if the sea was a monster and he was the only

food left.

Dependent upon their families,

and anti-social outside of them.

Minding their own business, living in their own turtle world.

Five arms.

The front side

of a rough texture in an undefined orange

the back side

filled, circle next to circle,

with small suction cups

allowing the star to attach itself to a surface.

I watch, my judgement being formed.

The creature sticks to this, sticks to that, as if in a game.


When I pick him up I see differently.

Delicate, and appealing to the eye.

Joyful but not loud

proud to be different than the other fish.




but not isolated.

Minding his own business, living in his own starfish world.

Where I’m From

I am from the vast, green lakes

at Camp Wayne and Crane Lake.

I am from the driveway in front of my mom’s place

(big, and semi-circular, taxi drivers get confused.)

I am from Woody’s laundry next to my dad’s place

and the messy bottom bunk bed

with the white knit blanket and blue pillow.

I’m from the Nike sneakers I liked only in the store

and my cherished high-top converse that were worn past shabby.

From v-necks t-shirts and awkward jeans

loose on the waist, but tight on the legs.

I’m from thoughtful notes in my binder and my colored pencil case

filled with an excessive supply of writing utensils.

From homework, and music blasting in my ears.

I’m from “please rise” and “you may now be seated,”

and The Four Questions at Passover.

I’m from Central Park and Times Square.

From bendy straws in every glass of orange juice,

and Tylenol to relieve my frequent stress headaches.

From the finger I use to straighten

the wooden framed snapshot

along with many others

on the wall full of memories that cover my life.

My first time apple picking,

our vacation in California, and my cousin’s engagement party.

From the crowded messages on my phone,

and my favorite worn out sweatshirt.

Gum wrappers scattered around,

and intense but not competitive races in the pool.

I am from laughter-

from subway rides place to place,

stop after stop,

memory after memory.

Michelle Ricklin
Age 13, Grade 8,
NYC Lab MS for Collaborative Studies
Gold Key Silver Medal

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