Monica Pasqual

Singer, songwriter, composer. You may know me from Blame Sally or Monica Pasqual & the Handsome Brunettes. I'm writing a serial memoir about Tom Erikson and me.

she had birds

She had birds.
Everybody commented on it.
She never even noticed how many there were, how they appeared over and over again when she wasn’t looking,
when she wasn’t thinking. 
She had birds and what did it mean? She had birds with broken wings
and birds that didn’t know how to fly 
— birds in cages, birds in cages that sat next to her, cages that she could have opened if only she’d realized,
if only she hadn’t been so afraid.

She had birds
that were dreams, birds that were fantasies and possibilities, birds like memories….

but also, oddly, she was afraid of birds. 
 ‘I don’t want a bird in my house’, she would say, ‘I don’t want them flying at me’, she would shout, as if she hated birds. But it wasn’t that, because, despite her words, she kept them everywhere around her
…imprisoned, broken, afraid to be birdlike.

She wanted to help.

She had other birds, too, the kinds of birds you can’t “have” in any real sense, but she had them inside her, in her fingers, in her feet and in her throat.
Sometimes they would take her flying with them,

sometimes the birds had her. 
Lately there were birds flying out from between her legs. A nest that had been barren for so long was suddenly humming and alive, wings fluttering, mouths calling hungrily to be fed…. it was a nest perched on top of a tree with long roots that reached down into the earth, like veins to a beating heart. The heart of a powerful and fragile life that the birds recognized but did not understand.

They were birds, after all, they didn’t care to understand.

(inspired by the poem, "She Had Some Horses" by Joy Harjo)