“even in hope” – Nayana Nair

.

i remember
how i loved you

it was a love that i could keep
only if i was broken

maybe it was not love
but people like me can only hope

hope for “the almosts” and “the similar”
hope and be happy in our misunderstandings

i don’t remember
how you loved me, if you loved me

so maybe, even in hope
i was not as blind as i wanted to be

“Breathing Cities and Statues” – Nayana Nair

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When I try to imagine,
to recall the face of another human being.

I always see them standing opposite me
with an expressionless face, holding out their hand.

When they are ghosts of pasts,
they are breathing cities of peculiarities and possibilities.
I feel they were waiting for my hand to touch theirs.
I feel as if they have saved up their last smile for that moment.
The steps I couldn’t take, can now never take,
they look so easy, so worth it, so worth keeping as regrets.

But I never learn
because
when they are reflections of present,
they are breathing statues
and frozen hearts that couldn’t possibly beat.
I know that this hand is not for me,
that I have extinguished the smile on that face
just by being myself, just by existing.

Only the warm breath of passing time
can make me miss the world that could have been.
Only on the streets I cannot walk
grow my trees of faith.

But even then, even for the past
I barely feel any love.
What I feel is something similar to
the relief in the things that won’t change.
The pull I feel is for the trust that can never be broken,
my heart that I never had to give out,
the hand of every stranger that remained innocent thereby.

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

.

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.

“Names that feel weird on my lips” – Nayana Nair

.

Now that I have grown in height
and I cannot forget my name
even if I want to,
no one comes looking for me
when I go missing.

When I go missing,
when I finally succeed in getting lost
I buy a new plant, walk through strange streets,
come back home with with my worn out heels
and new pictures on phone,
takeouts from restaurants whose name
feels weird on my lips, knowing more roads
that can take me home.

I sit defeated and happy
as I realize getting lost means nothing
if I can breathe just fine in this world,
if everything here can be my home.

But still there is sadness in me
for losing everything
that only that small world could hold.

“My love is no longer red” – Nayana Nair

.

The green that grows on me,
the love that grows on these walls
all turn around at the sound of a new voice
but they only find death waiting and smiling
coming to take away what now no one wants.

“On a morning long gone” – Nayana Nair

On the tapered ends of my lips
when I found your lips nestled near mine,
I asked
“Is this love? Is this your love?”
and you answered “Obviously not.”
So I told my heart to grow up.
Growing up was the only way
not to hurt.

On the spring infested roads,
I found your hand
on my melting waist.

On a nameless cold rainy day,
I found the joy of walking
towards you.

On a morning long gone,
in my graceless fall into the mess of my mind,
I came to knew the strength of your hands.

On the narrow pavements made for one
as I walked behind you
I realized how impossible it is to forget you.

On all such days that I made a point
never to mark on any calendar,
on all the days I tried to forget,
I found the question again and again
“Is this love?”
Again I looked away from you
to avoid hearing the answer
that would hurt a lot more now.

I guess I never grew up
or growing up only deepens my heart,
only makes it worse.

“But more than love” – Nayana Nair

But more than love
I needed to feel that I am human,
that my heart and its pieces
and its tentacles struggling to get a grip on me
are a story everyone’s bored of.

I needed to know that I am fine.
As fine,
as normal
as the person who doesn’t meet my eyes.
That I could look up from the sinking ground.

I needed someone to place me in the sun,
to water me, try hard to keep alive,
to make this
small me
the center of world
for few seconds.
Someone who could grow and bloom beside me,
because of me.

But more than love
I wanted you to be the one
who does that for me.

“Enough for me” – Nayana Nair

She climbed the stairs
never pausing for a second.
I knew what a second of thought could do.
How it could pull back her steps
and let out her screams.
I knew this is something she didn’t need.

She climbed the stairs
and walked towards me.
Beside me, not exactly near,
steps away perhaps she stood.
And that was enough for me.

Enough for me to not know of loneliness.
Enough for me to not feel fear
what all I could never be.
She stood where I could grow if I chose to,
where I could happily fall apart
and she would never leave.

But I also knew that meaning of this distance
which she hoped I didn’t see.
Being her mirror, as I looked at her from this distance,
I realized this carefully measured out space-
how beautiful and perfect
and safe it was.
She always stood far enough
so her heart wouldn’t rely on me to beat.

“I want you to see the world” – Nayana Nair

i will read you another story
so that you may know
that faults and lacks of humans are common and in abundance,
how ordinary are expectations-not-met.

i will read till my eyes close
till you can see all there is to see,
till you see everyone around you
who are disappearing into silence,

till you see all the kind words you could have said to them,
till you see that these words, that make you cringe,
how important they are
how easy they are to say, how difficult to mean

till you learn to mean these words that save lives,
till you learn to listen to others,
till you grow the eyes
that can see the world before it is lost.

though there is another story for another day
about how to save yourself from all that you have saved.

“On the Road to Spring” – Nayana Nair

The trees that flower
may extend their hands to the pitiful us
and ask us to walk with them,
learn a bit more about beginnings,
about the ends that we must eventually be.

Tell me, in those moments of hope
am I allowed to want?
What should I do with the people
I have abandoned, about the things
I can’t be forgiven for?

On the new roads,
am I allowed to keep the heart that I once had?
How do I grow up into someone
who doesn’t have to put effort to be kind,
who can smile without guilt?
Do I even deserve that?