a single breath - the time it takes for your tongue to catch between your teeth, the phone to crack the floorboard, the bullet to pierce the flesh. a second. it doesn't take much longer than that. for life to become death, for centuries of grooves to washout in the flash flood, for a name, a face, a memory to become nothing but two sentences in black ink on the back page of the thrown away paper. for today's tragedy to become yesterday's news.
the first emitted noise of the scream - the time it takes for your lips to peel apart, the noise to uncork in your belly, the grief to be unleashed from where it had been laying in wait. as if we knew; as if we knew. a second. it's the time for your knees to crash against the grass, for your spine to disassemble and fall like cracking autumn leaves. for the weight of the world to press against your shoulder blades with no relief.
it is the time it takes for you to reach for atlas' burden, to swallow the grief of the world and lay with your palms against its pulse. the time it takes to dissolve reason so that you are left wondering why this pain feels like home, why this name no longer fits the curve of your tongue, why this once thriving friendship has become nothing but a festering wound. the time for you to realize that this loss has become your weight to carry, your burden to shoulder - yours.
a second and you have become atlas, you have become the world and you are heavy, drenched, soaked through and sopping with tears and years. you are lead in the arms of your lover and dragging them under. you are waking in cold sweats, every noise the clicking of gunmetal. you dream with blood splatters against the back of your mind and wake with it dripping down to your trembling fingertips. your muscles are strained, your tendons blown, every ligament ruptured and swollen. you have become bruised and contorted, worn down with sorrow and sharpened with fear. you have become death within life, you have become misery in memory, you have become the echo of that single gunshot fire - and all it took was a second.