The Passing of Everyone Else

by Tasha Cotter

Sullivan’s Island

I found them in a wading pool inlet
displaced from life, they were closer to death:
skin sagging from muscle and bone as dusk
closed in, hugging them still as it formed
a halo behind them. It’s not me,
in your dream—would they say that, if they could
speak? Donning swim-caps, they held hands. Birds called
to each other like soaring wind chimes
sounding their bells of joy. I waded
into the pool to get a better look
at their radical faces because
this dream (even this dream) was rushing by
me. Why is life never in a rush
to keep its promise? I watched their slick backs
and bare arms, whole islands of life heated
by the sun. And they wouldn’t admit
(even from the other side) to being
two lives, arranged by time, still divided.

TASHA COTTER is the author of the poetry collections Some Churches (Gold Wake Press, 2013), That Bird Your Heart (Finishing Line Press, 2013), and Girl in the Cave (Tree Light Books, 2016). Winner of the 2015 Delphi Poetry Series, her work has appeared in journals such as Contrary Magazine, NANO fiction, and Booth. A contributor to Women in Clothes (Blue Rider Press, 2014), The Poets on Growth Anthology (Math Paper Press, 2015), and the 2017 Poet’s Market (Writer’s Digest Books), she makes her home in Lexington, Kentucky where she works in higher education.