“The ocean is so huge and weird” – Nayana Nair

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I drew her shadow on sand.

She stood still, her tiny shoulders
and ribs (that thankfully can no longer be seen)
moved gently with each breath.
Each tiny breath
like the wave that swept in,
like her laughter used to be.
She looks at me and asks if it is done.
I nod. I meant to say “almost”.
Just like I had meant to say “stop”,
or “please don’t” or “take me and spare her”.
She doesn’t wait for my answers anymore.
She skips over the boundaries of our shadows.

Her outline of me drawn in shaky fingers,
looks like a human being pulled apart
beside her own shadow – a child, complete and perfect.
But she looks at her shadow and calls it weird,
just like how she called the ocean weird.

For her
the smiling children in the glossy magazine were weird,
a chocolate bar without an occasion. without a reason were weird,
the memories of home she wanted to forget were weird,
the days she walked to school with her friend
and the days the sun went down as she slept over the
struggles of homework were weird.
She sat down and tried to come up with an answer for my “why”.

“the ocean is so huge.
as huge as, all the things i can’t have
but once i had them. it is weird.

it is weird how this ocean is mine now,
the breeze is mine along with the sky
but i don’t want them.

you have memorized my shadow.
you keep bringing me back to life
but you tear up so easily as if even you don’t believe yourself.
as if you don’t believe in me .

sometimes i feel that this ocean is our gift to each other,
it is our heart free of our bodies.
sometimes i believe that i am here and you are here
and the world where my head can rest in your lap
still exists.”

“The way complete beings find breaking” – Nayana Nair

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You look at me
and I look at you
the way broken things look at the hands of an angry god,
the way complete beings look down
at things that can never be their equal.

You and me, we take turns,
learning to feel pain, to give pain
reaching for the light in each other’s eyes,
making copies of each others memories
and spilling the ink on the originals.

You and me –
we are children left alone unsupervised with this steel instrument of love.
We now know of the blood and bone within our skin, thanks to this blade.
We now know how to keep distance when nothing keeps up apart.

When we lose our color, our teeth of milk and cruelty,
when the blade loses its shine
and looks like any other rust of this world,

only then we know the pain
of having walked past a life we could have had,

the journeys we could have walked,
the meaning we carried in our selves for each other sake,
the meaning we never looked up
, never cared for.

“Invisible with every word” – Nayana Nair

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The last stranger at the funeral home
brought in the worst rain of the season,
the coldest wind of the night
along with your last letter.
He leaned against the window
and called up everyone he won’t be able to meet today
looking at me all the while.
As if he knew every word that I was reading.
Probably waiting
to see whether I cry at the same lines that he did.
His eyes look like the ones who have got used
to crying for things that cannot be undone,
for a life that cannot be.
I wondered if he loved you. Maybe he did.
Maybe you knew. I hope you did.
He sat beside me
trying not to grieve more than a mother,
trying not mourn like a lover,
making himself invisible with every word
i read under my tearful breath

“…even when I sat at the dinner table with my brightest smile and deepest hunger, i couldn’t convince me that i needed to exist here.
even the warmest embrace of this world could do nothing but break me. i knew opening my heart could only bring floods and all ends of all kind.
i knew all along of this end. forgive me for pretending otherwise….”

“Wedding Photos” – Nayana Nair

It was like magic
running the highlighter, the bright crayon
over the sepia hands of her.
She didn’t complain or cry
as we ruined another photograph of hers,
as we tried to hide the evidence
of her failed love, our failing life.

We cut her out, moved her away
from the one who looked like us.
We placed her side of story, her half of heart
in the albums.
Albums that felt lighter
now that the responsibility
to remember only the good, its difficulty
was no longer our business.

We shredded few faces of his,
few others we drowned in ink.
His face was the reason we couldn’t look at ourselves,
the reasons of all the hurting words
we learned so fast.

After we ruined everything for good
we stared at each other,
and saw the tears we should’t be having in us.
This wasn’t how magic is supposed to feel.
Why?
Why was there no thrill, no relief in what we had done?
Isn’t it our turn to be free from the one who left?

“The eyes of my mother” – Nayana Nair

I planted the idea of a happy family,
a happy tomorrow,
into the eyes of my mother
with breaking tips of my pencils
against her granite eye lashes.

I told her the story about the boy
who is ever so sad
because his parents didn’t care enough,
who weeps on his empty birthdays,
who weeps into my heart.
I tell her I am not so fine myself.
Maybe she didn’t hear me clearly,
cause she didn’t stop
her daily charade of writing her “the last letter”.

I cleared her bed, her table, her words, her being
from the perfectly modeled replica of world in my mind.
I showed her, “Look, this is how I will look
with you gone. Look, look at what you must not do to me.”

She pulled me close, and held my hand for a bit too long,
a bit too tenderly
as if letting me know, telling me
“Look, this is how I look when I am alive.
Look, look at me pouring out of myself, dragging my feet
even till the end. Look, look at what I can no longer live as.”

And I stood there for a long time,
slowly understanding things I possibly couldn’t.
I stood there for a long time,
till my mom’s face was replaced by that of the ever so sad boy
as he held me, letting me cry into him
for the hundredth time.

“Red Gates” – Nayana Nair

I drowned the flowers
one by one.
The poison of beauty
now runs through the rivers
on this land,
they fill his backyard
in every season of rain.
A child with his smile
drowns another boat of dreams,
the flood is a field of paper,
the flood is all that is left of me.
She stares into me,
waiting for a reflection to surface.
She walks into me
to see where I end.

She tells me about the boy
she can’t love and the boy
she can’t blame
as I dissolve and submerge
the red gates of her house,
the garden of forgiveness,
her school shoes, all roads to her friend
who doesn’t smile back anymore,
the spoons that remind her of hunger
for farthest worlds and people.

She asks me how deep will be this pain
of losing herself, how long she would have to smile
through this hate.
I flow into her heart,
wondering, if there
I could turn back to the flower I was,
if the end of my hate could be
the end of her pain.
If I could be her answer of hope.

“Funny Look” – Nayana Nair

When I speak of
what I thought my life would be like,
what I still want to be if I was not dying in my skin,
they give me a funny look as if I am seeing things.

And frankly I am seeing the only things
that give me hope.
I am aware of their imaginary status
and how separated by time they are from my life.

But I wish instead they would just smile along
as if I am a child who speaks
of ten professions in one breath
and not remind me how I am losing out in life as a woman
just because I am trying to breathe as my dream once in a while.

“piano” – Nayana Nair

years from now
i hope my living room
has a space for a lovely piano.
i hope my fingers
would play something beautiful on it.
that here i would smile
and not know of the passing time.
that i would learn to love my walls
as much as the world that stands on the other side.
as my child misses me, cries for me,
tries to keep me alive when i am not,
i hope she feels this music she can’t hear,
i hope she sees the future i couldn’t finish living,
i hope she knows
that my warmth is more than my skin
and my blood running under it.

“The last brick is in my heart” – Nayana Nair

In every country, in every city,
on every street
stands a home that could have been ours.
I am a daydreamer like that
As I passed the house with an always crying child,
as I passed the house with the overwhelming smell of incense,
as I passed the house with singing reality shows played on repeat
I only thought of the life we could have there.
In my mind, we fit every house, we fit every role.
Even if our body was stripped of every muscles and every bone
even if we put back together the wrong way,
even if we our heart were to be rearranged,
in my mind we would still fall in love.
That is how we had molded the spirit of our love-
to be stubborn (if not right or just).
But now there are years when I don’t remember you,
and yet there is no sadness in me that is capable of ruining me.
You are gone
and I am trying to grieve for something I don’t particularly miss.
As I pass the houses where our stories used to be staged
I realize they are again the buildings of strangers
that I am supposed to keep my mind away from.
My sadness selfishly keeps uttering,
“I need to love someone, someone who won’t do this to me.
I need to love someone, to believe in love again.”
I reach home with bloody nails and bruised fingers
leaving behind bricks with our names scratched out.

“how storms fade” – Nayana Nair

twenty-six steps away from the cold end,
we stand together as if we are both looking
at a foe we must defeat together.
a child passes us by with a yellow balloon.
how misplaced it seems, this child
in this place made of storms.

this is something i don’t want to do.
our steps will fade into the deep end of this lake
while the mother in me would summon the face of this child
as a hope of what i could have had
if I could endure a little bit more.

an invisible small hand curls around my fingers
as your voice falters and you mess up our last song.
the ghost of your future, whatever face they may have, have also arrived.
so i put back the sweater on
and you check the calls you must return
as the ones who intend to live on only do.