“Waiting for the fireworks to end” – Nayana Nair

In her loudest, happiest voice
she told me about
one of her near-death loves,
how she wished her skin
would stop keeping her alive.
She laughed at how we both
always find something awfully painful or ugly in common,
how we should probably never call each other
just to remind each other of the spite
that lives in our blood.

I moved her lackluster glass of
fake green mojito by an inch towards her
and looked past her
at the couple who sat closest to the sky.
The wind that touched them called out to me again,
reminded me about my trembling legs
and my heart that didn’t want to give up yesterday.

I told her about the fall – my bad decision,
my backing out again at the last minute-
another really bad decision.
I told her someone needs to lock me up
before I take any more decision
as I showed her my new skinned knee
and told her in detail about
all parts of me that were filled with pain even now
only because of that one moment
in which I wanted to live more than anything.

She walked towards the the railing
decorated with hearts that won’t light
and found herself a seat, placing her elbow
carefully away from the mess that
the ones in love left behind.
She waited for me to follow her as I always do.

I stood behind her and felt a fear
very similar to mine swimming in her mind.
I wanted to tell her, it will get better.
but I couldn’t. I wanted to believe in this,
in this hope for better;
if not for me, at least for her.
And I knew she had nothing to say now
because her throat was also crowded by the words
she doesn’t believe. We are painfully alike
even in our search for hope, even when we are searching it
for each other.

“Someone is waiting for me” – Nayana Nair

Fog swims over my study table.
The glasses grow cold and old
and useless.
Again I forget to drink the medicine,
the milk, the love that fills my phone.
Like I forgot to get vaccinated,
to close the door, to wear something warm
even after being reminded
how easy it is to die.
Someone is waiting for me
to say the words I do not mean.
But they love me
so I try not to hate them for that.
I sink back into my chair.
I sink somewhere in the fog.
I try not to struggle too much.
I try to live with all my heart
but it is so difficult.
So difficult
to accept, ingest anything.
So difficult
to forget that I am drowning.

“Virtual Image” – Nayana Nair

the image in mirror is never formed

I copied this slowly
from my friend’s notes,
reading too much into it.

I moved my hands
over the new definition of real.

I traced the lines, the dull path of light
as faithfully as I could
but the solid blue lines of ink touch the glass
and are broken cleanly by the laws of reflection, every time.

Only I am left in this world of real stuff
tracing back the path
that only their changed selves could have taken.

But what difference does that make?
People who have changed
do they even want those old dreams?

Probably not, for all I see are points abandoned,
in the world of unpublished fiction
surrounded by crosses of dotted lines,
like the ones that are meant to be torn slowly.

the image in mirror is never formed

But it is there, in front of me.
By some miracle they exist
even when they don’t.

Doesn’t that count as real?

The emptiness in me
and in it your face.

Doesn’t that count as real?

“the broken-hearted” – Nayana Nair

the broken-hearted know no love
for anything or anyone
that is not the one breaking their heart.
they see through you.
even when they say hello
they almost get your name wrong,
you can tell it from the look in their eyes.
they drink and fill every room with songs
that were not so hard to bear
when they were just noises that radio made.
they tell you in their drunken stupor that no one cares.

they say no one cares
even when you call the cab, drag them home,
hurt your hand in the struggle,
scrape more than skin, lose more than patience,
leave them on a bed not made
for weeks probably, you don’t want to guess or know.
so you close the door, climb down the stairs
shut down the part of mind reserved for them,
but remember how they have been liking and sharing
too many dark poems, how those poems
speak in their voice in your mind.
so you climb back, remove every blade and knife
and realize it is just the beginning.
you feel exhausted by the inexhaustible list of things
that can help end a life,
that can serve as a full stop.

so you sleep on the couch
or pretend to,
till your head hurts from pretending.
now that you want something true
you call your love
and tell him that you don’t know
how to handle this,
how to sleep and yet keep an eye
on the one whom you suspect is waiting,
waiting for you to close your eyes for a second
to make an exit that doesn’t exist.
he tells you that they are beyond hope
at the same time
he forwards articles that could give you hope.
he tells you to sleep tight knowing you won’t.

when you wake up at the sound of tears
being microwaved for breakfast,
you see another day that won’t be right.
you see them trying not to break
yet breaking and abandoning everything around them
so that their hurt can be felt by the world.
they look at you and smile
while they pour another glass
toasting “another drink for the world that doesn’t care,
another drink for the loveless me.”

the broken-hearted know no love
for anything or anyone
that is not the one breaking their heart.

“the shadow at the foot of my bed” – Nayana Nair

today is the birthday of one another oddity of mine.
on a day like this,
few calendars ago
i learnt how to turn my helplessness into my charm.
i learnt to fill the glasses, the throats of everyone i know
with something sweet, with a taste they can’t name.
i learnt to become something that can’t be known or hurt.
in my bedroom i sit at the foot of my bed
trying to block out the presence, the weight
of the other half of my body
clinging, clawing, crying, dissociating.
i again forget where i am.
i again forget how to stop shaking.
if i walk a bit more into the darkness
i feel i won’t have to pretend to be the one
who has a say in what happens to her.
a hand slips into mine.
sometimes it rests on my waist,
and i force myself not to feel nauseated.
love him. love her. i tell myself repeatedly.
love. love. love. love till i can make up for all my lacks.
my love is my penance, my apology
to anyone who chooses me as their destiny.

“What I Remember (21)” – Nayana Nair

I prod and push the glass slowly, carefully
to the edge of the table,
where your glass stands.
At the edge where you place your suitcase,
where you always tie your laces once again
just to be sure.

That is the place you tell me to love
when you think I might lend something of me
to keep such place alive,
to keep you warm while you keep the door open
like the way the you like them to be.

This is the place you tell me to forget
when the color of my skin doesn’t match the color of your new sky,
when your new birds keep singing songs
of ‘soulmates’ with better specification
when it becomes your new caller tune,
when you think of the best version of your life.
You think of that too often, quite loudly
for me to really forget anything.

This is all I remember of you:

i never thought you were weak enough to need anyone or anything.”
i thought you were wise enough, i thought you were better than your gender.
call me. meet me. i am feeling down.
call me. meet me. listen to me, no one else does. only you have ever cared.
call me. meet me. i want us to end.
you are too much for me. you are too little in the eyes of anyone in this world.
you are so close to having my fickle demanding unfair love, why do you ruin everything by being yourself.
i would have loved you for 2 more years, if you were not messed up.

When I think of the glasses, of my life, of everything
that I dangerously left at the edges
just to be your equal, just to make sense of you-
I am glad I have claimed back my madness
instead of trying to understand yours.
I am glad I do not have to live my life
compensating for your weakness, calling it love.

“Used to this” – Nayana Nair

The light is not enough.

I must somehow reach the empty glasses
that hold no memories, no magic.
They won’t light up,
and all I can do is to learn to live in dark.
I need to get rid of all of them.
Sure, sitting here in the prison of you,
calling it a garden of leftover love is romantic.
Sure, learning to do everything by myself
all over again can be sort of fun,
I used to be good at that.
It is easy, it is comfortable in fact
to live with this space
that I don’t want to name after you.
I like to say “I have gotten used to this”
as if my heart is bigger than every misfortune left in your wake,
as if I really know how to forget.

“What I Remember (19)” – Nayana Nair

there are mornings
when i have forgotten how to forget.
i open my eyes
only believing the dream just broken.
there are mornings
when i hate myself for waking up
and my body for needing reality so much.

“i cannot give my heart to you”,
i remind myself to say this
as i gulp down a glass of chocolate milk,
in case someone decides to fall in love with me today.
it is unfortunate
that i have to force myself to say these words,
when it is so much easier to utter “yes”,
especially when i have hunger only for love.

as i untangle my earphones
i almost step into another puddle of my previous life.
there is something odd about finding my tears again.
i stand there, wanting to be of comfort to myself
but the one who is still drowning, drowning for years
i do not want her,
i do not want to catch her disease of hope.

there are days like these,
when taking a step forward is the most cruel thing to do.
when being human is risky, is the first step towards defeat.
when healing comes with a downtime, time that I must answer for.

on days like these
i find myself losing my sight,
and it is in that darkness that I find you.
how lucky you are that you will stay like this
stay beautiful, stay mine
only here,
only in my moments of madness and helplessness.

P.S. i am always amazed
at how easy it is to give up on myself
that to give up on you.
even when you were the worst of us.

“Reply Button” – Nayana Nair

This where my moment of collapse,
where my undoing starts.
Me, sitting in front of something that I used to love,
something that used to carry a part of me.
Me, in front of bookshelves,
looking at the list of movies that broke open my heart,
moving my hands over the quotes
that I took pains to scribble
on everything I own,
half-hiding behind the high dining tables,
not really eating,
not really listening,
making cracks on my glass skin
with the fork that has forgotten how food feels,
hesitating to touch that reply button,
hesitating to hold his hand.
“i am empty, i can’t find in myself the will
to love anything in this world”, I want to say.
But it would be so unfair
to break another’s heart, only because I have lost mine.
But won’t it be equally unfair
to give someone hope with my meaningless smiles.

“Fictional Friends” – Nayana Nair

i break another glass today,
the girl with blue highlights in her hair
walks over it without bleeding
but tells me
not to try such things at home on my own,
that it took her years of invisibility
to even try such tricks.
but she has no suggestions for what else i should do
instead of breaking my smooth skin
and wrecking my good name.
so she tells me a story about a girl and wolf,
another about a girl and her impossible dream,
about a girl and her sad prince,
a girl and the dark world,
a girl and whatever wants to break her down.
she tells me i don’t have to be that girl.
that i just have to be person who happens to be a girl
and not hate herself for it.


it is night already.
i find myself in strange blue rooms.
i hold hands with another new stranger
who promises to sing me to sleep.
he walks like heartache that knows how to smile.
he pretends to be the real deal.
he is too drunk on his own sad story like me
to even see anyone else.
so no we are not in love.
i just want to borrow his songs,
his voice, his awareness of all that is wrong.
i look out of his window, at my own home
at my friends, at my love, at broken frame of my family,
at myself who is trying too hard
to be indifferent to it all.


the battery of my phone dies
and i am alone again in this life
that i can’t find my way around.
i am somewhat lost, tired,
and yet somehow happy
to have lived through this despair,
through another dark night.