“Understanding freedom” – Nayana Nair

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He broke my shackles with his blood
and took my hand,
my weightless hand, my almost wings,
and held them in the warm embrace of his own prayer.

As my hands created ripples for my own amusement,
as my hands broke the bread that I would now get to eat,
as I looked at flowers for hours at leisure,
and sang wordless songs without the fear of being heard
-he cried.
It was beautiful and sort of silly – his tears.

He cries at the smallest things
yet is unfazed at the moments that require tears.
Like this farewell, where with a smile
he recites his memorized list of wishes,
he recites the feelings of hope he has for the ones before him.

He looks at me. He looks at us all
and says “you are free. this is now a game without masters.
this is now a world where you are as good,
as deserving of respect
as anyone you stand with or stand against.
you are free. live. live such that
you would need no one to remind you of that.”

As we cried, he told us that
disappearing is what he always meant to do
that wanting his shadow around,
seeking his approval, and following his words
would undo everything he has done in this world.
Yet our tears won’t stop.

We didn’t know if these tears were of desperation,
of relief, of love, of being abandoned,
of being left without directions or heads that could
do the work of seeing and thinking for us,
in return of our submission.
He told us it is sometimes okay not to know.
He said it is okay to hate him
if it helps us to find a way that is our own.

It broke me to hear that because
he spoke as if being okay with being hated for saving
was an essential part of being good.
It was sad that he had to smile when he said it
as if he was not free to cry or complain for something like that.
Or maybe I have not understood freedom yet.

“Essential” – Nayana Nair

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No suffering is born encased in a bubble of silence,
and maybe that’s why my throat hurts as I try not to scream.
But even when the world forgets to pay me any heed
and to all the parts I want to hide.
I continue to mistake the faults I am hiding
as the some essential part of who I am.
I mistake hiding as the purpose I was born for.

“Rewrite” – Nayana Nair

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I could say that you are so far away
that you cannot know what makes me
even if you tried.
For I feel the excuse of distance cannot fill this basket
that would have been essentially filled with the
reasons that are easier to put in mouth
but difficult to wrap our heart around.
Like the words that are often deleted and rewritten
so as not to offend.
And rewritten thousand times
so that they say nothing, mean nothing.
And we are content at the fact
that we could voice something in this world
even if the purpose of these words
was to just to fill up the air, fill up our time.
And the space just widens between us,
not because
there is distance between our heart
(because this wide world was made
for our heart to roam,
so this distance cannot be avoided).
But because I could never let you
rest your head, rest your questions
on the lap of my thoughts.
So that you may know
how my life (just like yours)
simmers under the heat of
indifferent care
that we are all used to receive.