written by Selene Hofstetter. Selene (she/her) attends the University of California of Riverside in the United States. She is a fourth-year college student studying creative writing, focusing on poetry. She is a tribal member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs located in Central Oregon, United States. She is currently researching graduate schools in poetry as she finishes her Bachelor’s degree in May 2024. Some of her poems intertwine religious aspects (angels) into the ordinary and spiritual.
How can a person dive
into a blank, blinking eye
without assurance of life?
A lifeguard – is not your angel in red.
In a butt-tightening swimsuit
with three days of CPR training.
If you’re looking to be romantically saved:
We no longer do direct mouth-to-mouth.
Your chest cracks under the pressure of our hands
as we force life into a body
it has not yet left.
Do not look to us for leniency,
life is not guaranteed with swimming.
Death – drowning – takes you based on circumstance.
Not because an angel has decided
to check your name off a list
to decrease the human population
for the greenhouse gases.
But because you decided to ignore
your passing confession
you personally revealed to your friend
while climbing the waterslide’s stairs.
Your lifeguard is not an omnipotent being.
When hands reach through wavering light
– an obscure, blurry figure coming into focus
with arched wings encompassed by white,
and your body lies facedown – still
in a vacant, staring eye.
Your admittance before a drowning incident
helps no one
except give perspective,
as the angel takes your hand – takes you onward.
Far past the pool’s edge
of a lifeguard’s domain.
Image: Untitled 3 by Sarah McKernan
Sarah (she/her) is a photographer and videographer from Stamford CT, US, and works in this field for U.S. Air Force and as a Public Relations Officer for Plus Brand Industries. She loves taking landscape photography as her photos are from locations all around the U.S..