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"Creature of Claw" – Nayana Nair

How long should I bleed
for the one who holds the knife.

I pluck another flower of kindness
to appease the one who won’t even smile for me.
He looks at it and tells me the tested foolproof ways
to kill this useless plant that grows in me
and cracks his shield.

He tells me he will love me more
if I will cut his skin
instead of making him look as bad as he is,
if I struggle a bit to get back at him
rather than struggle to know him like this.

He says
“i would like us to be peas of the same pod,
i would like us to be the insects with same appetite,
i would like you so so much more,
if you would help me rule this world
that doesn’t listen to me. if you could speak
the same words as i do, words dipped in careless anger
rather than the ones served with pity.
don’t tell me the danger of my dagger
by slicing away your skin. you feel more like an enemy now.
the more you bleed to make me suffer,
to make me give up, the farther you get
from the person i could love.”

How long should I bleed
for the one who holds the knife
to stop him from cutting his own heart.
This will hurt him, he knows,
eventually if not now.
Yet he is becoming a creature of claw with a paper skin,
he is growing a dream
from the horrors he has only read.
The unnatural pauses on his lips,
the look of helplessness in his eyes
makes me wonder if he even knows how to stop.

“Only She Knows” – Nayana Nair

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She left the door ajar
and closed the curtains as she left,
like she did so many things
that I didn’t ask her to do.
Like so many things I didn’t notice.
Did I fear darkness of the room?
Did I fear drifting into sleep
no longer be sure
that this body would continue breathing?
I feared a lot.
I knew the names of imaginary insects
that crawled inside my mind.
But only she knew how to close my eyes
and close my heart
to the pain and paranoia
that only I could feel.
I woke up to curtains soaking the sunlight
and the sweet humming from next room.
And I didn’t want this humming
to go farther
than this.

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