I was twelve when I knew
That I was dying.
Not then.
But One Day.
A game we played spread blood
Across the screen, angry white
You Lose covering the poorly rendered body.
A three pronged controller slipped from my fingers and yanked me from childhood
And I knew.
Don’t think about it, were my mothers well intentioned words.
You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head but you can stop them from
Making a nest.
She told me to pray.
The God that loved her never spoke to me
But at twelve I begged him.
I begged him to stop the birds flying.
They did not.
They became a part of me and they were silent
For awhile.

When I was one and twenty they attacked again
And I knew that I was dying
And I felt the squeezing in my chest
And the lightening of my body
And I watched myself
And them
And they stared.
And I was crazy.
And she laughed
And I wasn’t praying enough.
And I couldn’t stop the birds from flying but I could stop them making a nest.

Demons, she said.

Six years later
They have come again
And I am older and weaker
And I have tried to stop them.
I have not given them a home
But they are there besides.
I’m afraid I’m losing it, I tell her, and she does not ask what it is. I want her to.
I want her to tell me that I won’t be this way always.
That I’ll grow out of it.
That I’ll hear Him talk to me.
That he’ll speak and I’ll be better.
That he’ll be real.
That I’ll exist always.

She laughs at the memory of the first time. Remembering how they stared.
How embarrassed she was.

“You can’t stop the birds from flying,” she says, as I disappear into myself. “But you can stop them from building a nest.”


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