I. Our Experience
Time pauses for the first time in history.
And I see the moon, orange in hue,
looking over her imagined shoulder at--
Locking our door will not be enough
for people hiding
In the student center
Or lecture halls
Or buildings that closed down for the day.
Time pauses for the first time in history
I inform my family of the situation not
My imminent danger (no time to explain or to calm)
The too old intercom can barely wheeze out
How the shooter is in the building.
I choose my final words: to my ex-lover,
that I love him.
So when he reflects our volatility, he has a compass to direct his analysis
I think I understand the emotions of a newborn.
Suddenly catching your breath, and overstimulated, you scream.
The world I have found myself in is dark, I refuse to scream.
A blaring alarm. A friend sobbing in the corner. Banging of objects
To scramble as weapons or a barricade. Breathe. I need that control
Unlike a newborn though, I am autonomous.
Damned if I allow someone to take that
From a distance,
in an instance.
We have never been exposed to violence.
We fantasize the thrill of sneaking out the building
Standing on the same concrete as the gunman
of adrenaline enters our spine
Branching into our nerve endings
Do we think the impact of metal to our skin
will burst us open into rose petals?
The air in our space is heavy and unmoving.
The figures in our space tread through it.
Suspended in time.
Time. It is non existent.
It is not on our microwave, I don’t see it on my phone
I left on the bed to stop
reacting to all of the texts.
No, I do not have time to respond to any of you.
I have nothing left to say.
I have traveled through life, waiting for something in it to shift.
Lived, incomplete, within the borders of others expectations.
Now, it is okay. But I have no other choice but to accept it.
We barricade our 10th floor deadbolt door, just to be safe.
As we move the dresser, in the fake wood,
I see my lover’s lost smile.
In me, he found tenderness
Caressing his own inner violence.
my mother saying she is proud of me.
I sing along to the jazz standards my brother plays.
I can finally talk my father in Spanish.
I’ll grip the last of the love I have.
Protect it with every layer of furniture in the room.
Comfort the one who’s crying.
She’s the only one who believes in a god. She may be the only one saved.
The other two, we can crack some jokes to lighten the mood.
Who's knocking on the door? Death?
What pun can be made there?
If I die, I’ll think of the white blossom trees I climbed as a child.
My last question to myself will be: How did I end up so afraid?
The alarm stops
There’s knock on the door complimented by familiar voices
We moved furniture to allow them in
Their nonchalant-ness, indifference.
They were hidden 9 floors below us.
Now there are ten of us in refuge, huddled together and laughing.
I cannot shake the anxiety of what’s to come and no one listens.
I do not remember how we heard that the swat team was coming
Into our building.
What point would they start at? From the top floor and make their way down?
Moving like my thoughts.
At what point would the shooter have started at?
What would be efficient for either parties?
Yelling of their presence, we creep out with our hands up.
On my knees I make eye contact with the officer pointing his gun at me.
His sweat clinging to his forehead, fear clinging to his eyes.
Our moment so delicate. If I were to have fallen, would he have shot?
Time is moving again. Faster, to make up for what it has lost.
I look out the window but the moon is no longer there.
I hope she found what she was looking for.
The hole looks like a web,
The spider being the bullet.
No, it had nothing to eat.
I went to highschool with the kid who just
duped a guy a $100 worth of weed on the edge of campus.
A guy who then took out a gun and shot.
We heard that the guy moved across campus.
We saw the swat team move onto campus.
We watched from above the students pouring in from the food court
into the connecting dorm, through those floor to ceiling windows.
We hear he is close to our building.
Unsure of why he would move across campus
When he was originally on the edge, and could have simply left.
We hear he is in our building.
We do not know how this was suspected.
Information in the form of group text rumors.
The ambiguity of my finality are a reflection of life:
A conglomeration of inaccuracy and personal interpretation.
Never the reality.
Later on, we would hear rumors from a neighboring university
That he had come into the building, holding some people hostage.