“As if out of a dream” – Nayana Nair

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The leaves flew back to their trees.
The fruits became never eaten, never ripened, never born.
The papers on my desk forgot how to exist for themselves.
For a moment I feared maybe this is how
the past love, the healed hurt returns.
But it wasn’t so.

That day, on that bleak morning
you looked at me
and my heart learned to believe again.
My lips reached out to learn your name.
Your name, as if out of a dream, settled on my shoulders
and told me I can rest.

On that morning, that should have been like the hundred others,
I learnt that in spite of my bitterness and my disappointment
I wanted to believe in this world.
And even in my denial I was waiting for a moment like this.

A moment in which my broken and incomplete heart
is returned to its original state of trust, as if by a miracle,
by your gentle touch of understanding.
I feared calling it love, when I knew that it already was.
No other word would suffice.

“Telling Signs” – Nayana Nair

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“Does rust affect plastic dreams?”
I ask my teacher in my sleep.
She takes out an axe and starts cutting down
the first mouth filled with wrong answers.
Two rows away
she wipes her brows and folds her sleeves,
she takes another deep breath
before she checks the attendance sheet
and finds the next dream to kill.

She tells me I should think more and ask more
and ask the questions that help me live.
She looks at the metal that grows out of my pores
and gives me another chance.
She says only if I would try to be better
than the people I am clinging to, I could grow up to be her.
I look away from the blood that flowing down her neck,
the parts of her that she intends to kill by holding other’s breath.

“What about my mother’s arms, weak weak exhausted arms?
Are those my telling signs?
Does that mean I don’t have to worry,
that I am just someone next in line?
What about you? Do you rust like me?
Would the color of my rust, would my weakened heart
make me worth protecting,
make me deserving of kinder words?

She told me “It will not get you respect or equality,
if that’s what you are looking for.
It can sure get you love, of some kind, for some time
but it is just a matter of time
before you see the end that only you can write.
And you would end up writing it
cause that painful end would be more truer and more yours
than any love that you find by compromise.”

As she walks past me, smiling lovingly,
as she spares my life, that now she owns.
As she dissolves my only way back,
I realize too late, that my chaos and my doubts
were more hopeful than an answer like this
that promises pain to everyone else but me.

“It took me years, it took me you, to find a truth that was not a selfish reflection of me” – Nayana Nair

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Once she had a bite of my fate
she became a restless ghost.
She looked like all my ugly wishes staring back at me
but she had a beautiful smile so it was more bearable to my eyes
than to wear my own desperate words on my unsightly lips.
She looked out of place, but in a good way
as if she was the invitation to some place where my light won’t die.
Even in her voice it was my own words
that asked me to leave, that told me to love for the last time.
As my shrieks danced in the empty corridors
she planted a seed of eucalyptus in my palm,
she covered my hand with hers,
and covered our hands in dirt.
She told me how, for years, only the smell of eucalyptus
could calm her mind,
it made her believe that there was a gentle cure
to every disease that hurt her heart.
As she spoke such words that were not extraordinarily sad
I felt my spine become soft.
I dreamt of her leaning against my back
relieved of her every pain
and maybe it was the only beautiful wish
that has ever been born from my heart.
Once I touched the shadow of her heart
I grew and bloomed and learnt to be the one
who waits, heals,
loves, and breaks without bounds.

“Saving only December” – Nayana Nair

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All the spring’s color
have been molten and poured
into the broken casts of summer.
They seep into ground, into autumn leaves
that falls in every space between you and me.
They sing something for us again
as we shiver and stop ourselves from giving in,
as you hold back from saying every word
that can fix me (at least for now).
I google how to kill feelings
that don’t let me eat or speak or smile.
I bite my lips trying to bury the words
that would shine in your colors, if you were to look at me.
If you were to look at me, you would be only sad
to know how unchangeable my heart is.

You tear sheet after sheet, rip them out of calendar
and hand them to me.
We burn 11 months, saving only December, because you never know.
There is a knock on our door, someone who is lost
brings in the chilled wind, the fine dust of snow,
and voices celebrating something we will never understand.
I wait for you to come back and settle into you warm sleep.
I sit at the foot of the sofa, and think about
the one time I dreamt of death.
I was looking out of window waiting for you
and you came back with new pair of eyes that never settled on me,
and when I was almost about to cry
you moved towards me with a dying sparrow in your trembling hands.
It lay on its side with its soft violent gasp for breath
that were perfectly in sync with mine.

“There is nothing to be sad about” – Nayana Nair

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I find myself
amidst the flowers
that continue to bloom even without her.
I find myself
smiling, blooming, even dreaming, .
trying to hold a bit more life in my hands
in spite of the holes
that are now three-fourth of my identity,
that won’t let me keep anything.
As I continue to pass through
everything everything I run towards
I think
maybe this is the only correct for me to live,
this is probably the only fate I could accept anyway.

“I think I am” – Nayana Nair

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The person I think I am,

this person with dreams and purpose,
this person with heartful of love
and tears as a proof of its painful blooming,
this person with a lot say and a lot to see
with an agreeable “to-do”
and hidden “what-if-I-never” list,
this person good enough to be included in your plans,
in your friendly banter, in your group chats,
in your betrayals, in your short-lived love,
in your museums of wax, in your corrupting memory,
in your unreliable heart

this person
– this image,
is merely an excuse I give to world,
an excuse I give to myself.
So that I can continue to exist
even when I don’t know why I must.

“Staying awake, staying alert” – Nayana Nair

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The glass window creaks
under the weight of my head.
I wonder if I should sleep.
Not that it is in my hands. I wish it was .
But then I am afraid
of wishing for anything
that I might not be able to bear-

like her face alive in my dreams,

like seeing myself with a smile
that I can never wear again,

like wanting to smile again
even when I do not want to want such things.

Even when I stay awake, stay alert
to the turning and tossing of my heart
even when I stay glued to the place I had in her heart,
I feel that time is dragging me away
from everything that is painfully comfortable and familiar and lost.

I feel the world trying to rush back into me.
I feel I might lose her too soon, too easily.
I fear there is only so much that my heart can take.
I fear that I will find the peace that I do not want to feel
at the other end of this suffering.

“Things I probably shouldn’t say” – Nayana Nair

I realized that I was too young to fall in love. That my heart was too broken to know how to run away from an embrace. And your embrace was hurtful and genuine – almost beautiful. I didn’t know then that one could be gentle and genuine. Or that there were words other than authenticity and truth and love that are worth living for.

I attributed my doubts, my sad feelings, my loneliness to my paranoia, to my wounds hidden under my beautiful lakes, to all the dark days before you. Even when I saw your lips suffocating mine, I could breathe in just fine if I kissed you back.

If I took your hands and kissed them, it would all be my choice, it would all be a sacrifice for my dearest love. Rather than humiliation, rather than helplessness, rather than the feelings of being locked in with you in this life.

Even as I write, I feel the sting of these words, I feel my fakeness, I feel how it must have wronged you – my gentle, my virtuous, my forgiving image. All the things I wanted to be for you and for me. All the things I never really was.

I foolishly believed that for being worthy of love I would have to first give up myself. I never wondered how you could love the me that left my body when I came to you. I never wondered who you were actually seeing in me, who you held in your arms. I wonder if you had seen my real feelings, my fear of you, the efforts I put to like you – the ugly feelings that I can only see now.

I dreamt of you few days back. I saw you casually slipping back into my life by giving me a paper mache keychain and me being happy, me holding your hand in the glitter of unknown lights. The lights were yellow, you were a bit taller than I last saw you, I was a bit more happier than I last knew myself to be. I woke up hating myself a bit more.

And after my words of confusion, blame, and hurt, here are my kind words. They are few, they are frail, they are nothing in comparison to the wrong that we are but they are there in me just like the occasional dream I hate to be in:

You were sometimes beautiful. You were sometimes kind. On some days you almost meant your love. On those days you meant the most to me in this world. On those days I felt I was good enough to be loved. On those days I told myself that sometimes love is more than comfort, warmth, and understanding. On those days I found it worth it to swim to you through anything. On those days I planned and prepared myself for all the things I should leave for a life with you. I thought I could do it. I knew I could do it for you. There are days I don’t want to separate myself from. Even if I separate from you.

Also, leaving me was the most selfish and loveliest thing you have ever done.

And I hate you even when I say that. Even when I say that, I know that what you did is something people in love never do. Something you can never be forgiven for.

Now, I can only give your words of gratitude or blame. It won’t be words of love ever again.

“Melting a Rose” – Nayana Nair

In rooms like these
my hollowness becomes real.

It becomes an ant that won’t stop walking
with its tiny feet across the span of my hands,
a felling that won’t rest.

It feels like the rain
that falls and fills everything before me.
Leaving me alone. Alone to think of you.

And I.
again I find in you

a hope?
a reason to run away?

hope

I wrap your moonlight around me.
I melt this rose of tears.

I melt myself and my shields
so that you can see me as I see you.

In rooms like these,
with your hope in me

I can’t help but close my eyes

and dream of finding me in front of you
holding onto my heart

and you finally smiling back.

a reason to run away

I look at my bleeding hopes,
unlike you I have not yet learnt
how to not hurt.

So I bleed silently, fearing
I might be the wrong answer,

fearing the regrets that you might discover
the hurt you might know

due to the imperfections that I collect
and fill myself with.

Every time I dream of you
the rose in my heart melts a little more.

The melting drops burn my eyes.
There is only pain in the place where you used to be.

You stand beside the fire” – Nayana Nair

In the rubble with nerves hiding sparks,
in the nest of sleeping explosives,
again it is you.
Again you are here to prove something
by doing something unasked for.

You build a place for warm tea,
for all our shivering ghosts to haunt.
You place the chairs that are not chairs
but buckets that cannot hold anything now.
There are chairs that are lying around just fine
but you don’t want them.
You don’t want the old purposes eating away
the beauty of all that is left behind.

You console the ones holding onto what is no longer there
but you don’t want the ones who want a way back to what it was.
You ask us questions with your bleeding lips
you want us to answer with something real,
not just words.
“You are cruel”,
you laugh when we say that.
You make us leave everything we are
just so that we can finally sit on empty buckets
thinking about the hands we cannot hold,
thinking about hands that are no longer hands.

“The city is no longer burning”, you tell us
as we place our empty glasses in front of our empty eyes
and tell us it is fine if we don’t believe it now.
“Sleep. Dream and stay for a while with the molten and bombed,
the lost and the dead that still have your heart.
Take your time.”

As we lay awake in our heart-wrenching grief,
as we lose ourselves to your favorite world of sleep,
you stand beside the fire
that keeps us alive.
You stand beside the fire
that is not actually fire
but your heart
that burns like sun.

We wanted to tell you, “You are kind.
You are too beautiful for this world.
Have our heart and burn it instead.”
But we couldn’t .
We knew these things were easy only in words,
that these were things we couldn’t do, yet.
That we have not smiled and laughed with bleeding lips,
helping while being hated.
That we were too selfish to be you.