“the door opens, and i let in whatever comes in, whatever comes back” – Nayana Nair

.

a rose sits at the center of the table.

the surface of wood is sinking,
going under, losing the feeling of its own legs.

everything that i pick up from the world
(the alien objects with the scent of decaying lemon)

their destination is this – this piece of furniture.
everything in this one room life can trace its origin back,

back to a person who is not me. i have been gifted life
and the tools to live. i have been gifted the recipes-

the best way to mix, bake, boil, and burn. every surface of rest
speaks and has a face, their face. their face frowns

at the taste of food i make and my inability to eat. the three meals i cook
never reach my stomach. i can only hope for sleep after these

pointless rituals of remembrance. hunger
is the last thing on my mind. on the mornings when i wake up

with eyes open for a change, i see the clutter for what it is. i see
the shrine and offerings and gods of past. i feel i am not really praying

but begging them to come back. “how to revive a god, how to be looked at again”
these are the thoughts that flood in me

every time an offering is rejected, every time the room remains dead.
the door opens only for me, only by me. a rose again breathes its last

in my hand. there is life i realize. there is life everywhere. but also
there is the end to it. both cannot be had at will.

the wait for both is never without pain.

“You took my lonely heart to your lonelier world” – Nayana Nair

.

You took my breaking hand and told me stories
of a world where humans can be built again,
where all that darkness
that has seeped into me, into you
can be cast away with a kiss
and mornings with warm breakfast, a hunger of two.
You placed your old sweaters beside mine
and that dark cupboard became a symbol
of an enticing spring that would never end.

Within all that beauty and warmth
how was I to know
that you were meaning to leave,
willing yourself to make that exit,
even when you welcomed me into your arms.
How was I to know that this darkness in you, in me
would continue to only grow in new directions
making us fear not the breaking,
but our breaking to be seen by each other.

I remember you waking up early
and trying to put the clothes of “forever”,
ironing out the new folds in your skin
so you can continue to love this life made of dreams.
I remember you placing my name
on your tongue, in the body of your thirst in a whisper
and then crying silently
knowing you cannot love this anymore.

Yet I kept my eyes closed
thinking of springs, and sweaters,
and a home filled with two of everything.
I kept my eyes closed giving you time
enough to find the strength and the numbness
to embody the person you were long ago.
I feel your weight at the edge of the bed,
I feel your sigh
and your hands still filled with care
thoughtlessly placed on me.
Love is so beautiful, isn’t it,
even in its end.

“prompts” – Nayana Nair

.

i think of parasols.
i think of wearing my miniature body made of colorful frills,
holding my own soft innocence,
not like something that can be and will be lost
but like something that will never be destroyed,
like something one never gives a second thought about.
i think of never knowing fatigue, never resting.
my skin only knowing the sun.
i think of classrooms fitted with air coolers
i think of home and its beautiful cold floor
i think of places i knew i could always return to
once i was done with my playing, once i felt my hunger.
i think of the time that i lived not knowing not understanding
the appeal or the need of shadows.

i think of stones.
their small happy weight in my hands.
the deftness of my fingers and my wrist as i played.
my palm holding them together,
scattering them, collecting them.
my palm feeling the coldness of the evening,
knowing time through them.
i think of the stones that grew on the sides of broken roads
beside my source of earliest magic
-the touch-me-nots, the insects made of velvet,
and the lost fireflies.
i grew up in a broken forest
wearing stones as brittle as me.

i think of fruits.
their colors that i loved
even when i didn’t like what they were.
they tasted too mellow, too tame,
too transient to me.
their juices just carved a bit more hunger
in my stomach. my stomach that was already learning
to ask for more and more.
i carved their colors in my notebook.
i dreamt of drawing them up on my skin.
this was before i knew what a tattoo was,
before i learnt the dangers of carving things in you
that you can’t possibly love.

“Silent Dazzle” – Nayana Nair

.

The words are brittle
the ones they ask me to eat.
I was told this is how you forget
but it really doesn’t work.
It always leaves a mark on me,
claiming a bit more of me.
My throat would have shined,
would have dazzled the world,
if they could see the shards of glasses that
are stuck inside, that decorate my wind pipe.
Only I know how my voice and my hunger
makes its way out of this maze.
Like the thief in the movies
avoiding the lines of red,
I move within my body
slowly, carefully,
afraid if what I might encounter next.
Next to this fear… words and speaking
and performing in front of this world
seems easiest part of existing.
My words pushed out into the world
are always wounded and broken.
And they lie on the ground,
in the hands that feel strange,
already losing half of their bodies,
their meaning already taking its last breath.

To speak is to see myself die in the hands of other
and yet be spared, only to live a bit more,
only to utter the next word.

Another piece of glass added to my collection.
Another drop of blood shimmering at its end.

“Invisible with every word” – Nayana Nair

.

The last stranger at the funeral home
brought in the worst rain of the season,
the coldest wind of the night
along with your last letter.
He leaned against the window
and called up everyone he won’t be able to meet today
looking at me all the while.
As if he knew every word that I was reading.
Probably waiting
to see whether I cry at the same lines that he did.
His eyes look like the ones who have got used
to crying for things that cannot be undone,
for a life that cannot be.
I wondered if he loved you. Maybe he did.
Maybe you knew. I hope you did.
He sat beside me
trying not to grieve more than a mother,
trying not mourn like a lover,
making himself invisible with every word
i read under my tearful breath

“…even when I sat at the dinner table with my brightest smile and deepest hunger, i couldn’t convince me that i needed to exist here.
even the warmest embrace of this world could do nothing but break me. i knew opening my heart could only bring floods and all ends of all kind.
i knew all along of this end. forgive me for pretending otherwise….”

“Hope and Wait” – Nayana Nair

.

I looked at you for a long time
and for a long time you pretended to sleep.

For a long time
you closed your eyes,
even when tears spilled,
even when laughter almost made out.

I placed my hand in yours and waited.

I hoped even when you pretended to be stone,
pretended to be wax, pretended to be mine,
pretended to want me gone.

I hoped, I waited to held in your arms.

I hope.
I wait.
I pretend to do all this with ease.

I pretend to be a shelter
as I hunger melts my stomach,
as words melt my mouth.
I do not know what you pretend to be.
Not yet.

I wonder
if I let my eyes close,
if I chose my weakness,
if I hide,
will you take my place, place your hands in mine
and pretend to wait?

I won’t mind such lies and such pretense.

*I wonder if our lives could change
if we didn’t feel burdened
by truth and lies all the same.

“Red Gates” – Nayana Nair

I drowned the flowers
one by one.
The poison of beauty
now runs through the rivers
on this land,
they fill his backyard
in every season of rain.
A child with his smile
drowns another boat of dreams,
the flood is a field of paper,
the flood is all that is left of me.
She stares into me,
waiting for a reflection to surface.
She walks into me
to see where I end.

She tells me about the boy
she can’t love and the boy
she can’t blame
as I dissolve and submerge
the red gates of her house,
the garden of forgiveness,
her school shoes, all roads to her friend
who doesn’t smile back anymore,
the spoons that remind her of hunger
for farthest worlds and people.

She asks me how deep will be this pain
of losing herself, how long she would have to smile
through this hate.
I flow into her heart,
wondering, if there
I could turn back to the flower I was,
if the end of my hate could be
the end of her pain.
If I could be her answer of hope.

"cold light"- Nayana Nair

the leftovers of last night
fill my fridge.
“never to be ruined”
is what i would want to believe.
but i do not have the patience
to wait and see.
i do not have many things in me-
lacking of sorts, but not as deep in feeling.
it is fine as long as it doesn’t reach me.
it is fine as long as it doesn’t reach me.
i step away and sit down
it the unnatural unnerving glow
of all that was delicious once.
on the floor beside the broken fridge door
i wait for my hunger or desperation to return.
i wait to see what i loved in the love
that is dying without me.

“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.

“Digestible” – Nayana Nair

to be human is to float like a single cell life
devouring pieces of digestible meaning,
splitting and cutting oneself without blood loss
into something more manageable.
to be human is to lose your legs
to the ideas of nation, families, and lovers.
to be a human like me is to look at
herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, scavengers…
and wonder what hunger feels like.
it is to order love at every other restaurant
waiting for the taste of pain to grow on me,
while i mimic strangers stranded on far away tables
and hope what i am learning is not another dead language.