imagined like a sleepless night

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there was once a little bird who lived in an imaginary tree. the bird had soft wings and soft innocent eyes. the tree was the same as most other trees except that inside the tree lived a heart, a human heart that kept the roots of the imaginary tree gripping deep into the earth, kept the branches warm and the leaves silky green just for the little bird. the little bird needed the tree. the tree was filled with my heart. once there was a terrible storm and a few branches even broke, the tree held on tightly to the earth and yet it swayed. the little bird sat on a safe branch and rocked as if the tree were a cradle. the little bird didn’t know and could not even care that the tree had almost died. the tree however, this imaginary tree was the life of the little bird. the little bird wasn’t real. possibly. that’s what i thought when i heard this story. maybe the tree, who was the ground, the sky, the soul, the warm bosom the little bird called home was the only one who was real. is real even now. and you don’t hear me, you only hear your soft bird song. you don’t even sing to the tree who holds you, you sing to yourself as if you’re the sky and the branches that reach just for you. that lift you, sustain you, suffer for you silently. solid. solid is the tree. and the other thing was that the bird had a name. the tree had no name. it wasn’t even important if the tree was alive as long as it held the little bird’s world together. the tree was omniscient and so to the bird, truly the tree came second. the tree didn’t matter as long as the little bird did. the little bird who knew so much and felt so little inside. the tree who had no eyes or mind, only a heart who fed it’s existence to the life of the bird. the life of the bird who imagined the tree. the tree of life who was beyond imagination. and the way that it goes is that nobody loves the one they use to sustain themselves. nobody cares or notices so that they don’t feel small. you see, i saw the little bird, i knew how small he was. the little bird didn’t see the tree at all even though he hopped on it’s branches all day. didn’t care when a few broke in the storm, didn’t love the tree as it’s only home. to the little bird, the tree was more like a throne, and he was on top wearing an imaginary crown, imagining how big a bird he might grow to become. thinking about himself as a mighty bird. thank god for the tree i guess. and this isn’t a metaphor it’s a story about loss. you lose. that’s what i’m saying. not because you don’t love mother earth not because you don’t recycle. because you have no appreciation for who roots you and lifts you. you take and think you’re big. you cover yourself in things smaller than you and think the tree has no feelings. you say it’s ok to masturbate and shed old feathers all over the tree. you laugh and say the tree isn’t real, that it’s not your fault the tree has pain, a pain so deeply accepted it’s nearly forgotten. a pain that became the roots of it’s love. my love for you fed by a lonely grief you can’t see or find because to you i’m not real, but to me you so deeply are. so deeply real i grow from pain and spread my tired broken arms while you accidentally forget me again and again. it’s not because i blame little birds, it’s because i grow them- that i take responsibility for my loss. my isolation, my sincere honesty. trees aren’t imaginary, only birds are. if you think i am not real, like it’s funny, i know what you are, i always did. you are the song that dies in my heart every morning. you are the light that leaves me when another bird flies by. you are the only one i live for and you never even knew my name. i gave you everything. whatever you imagined you needed, i became. even a name, even a lover. even an enemy, even a mother. and this isn’t about living trees and puffed up baby birds, it’s about the song you can’t hear. the song that defines you. the song about who you might become on this new day. because this song is a sad one. and you should know that i am real. the most real you’ll ever know. the most real unimportant invisible heart inside everything you breath from…and the little bird is the most beautiful dream i’ve ever held as my own, the most beautiful song i’ve ever heard as i die inside, all alone.

imagined like a sleepless night. sharada devi

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