“I have learned to gaze lovingly” – Nayana Nair

.

The fishes peep at me
through the pink sewer grates,
the filth and dirt and greed of city
eating their eyes,
the loneliness scratching at their fins.

I look at them
as if they are a painting
hung on an illuminated wall –
the last standing wall.
The vapors of dissipated life, dissolved flesh
spread all around it – the waste of everyday life
the waste of silent war.

But it lasts only a moment
my gift of vision, my ability to detach
only lasts so long.
The hunger in my bones, once again,
makes me look away.

I get up and walk.
I move my feet to the beat of the song
being spun in my corrupted mind
I am tempted to increase the volume
to find a pitch that resonates with the air here.
The point where everything bleeds and nothing heals
what will happen to me there,
what will happen to all of us I wonder.

But I have walked these roads before
I now know more than anything
that I only yearn to live.
Slowly, I have learned to protect my ailing tissues.
I have learned to gaze lovingly at my broken mind.
So, I press pause.
I continue to persevere.