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“Portals” – Nayana Nair

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the wafer breaks and crumbles
my teeth find a red muscle to kill
again my mouth bleeds
but no iron strikes my taste
so i wait for it
i wait for my imagined pain
to become real

i look at my hands
my unsightly weak hands
they are portals to my past self
how they weighed its emptiness even when they held you
how i knew that you won’t last, we won’t last
and i hated myself for knowing it

i wonder if my skin, my lips
gave you a premonition similar to that
did you know that we would end up sharing every hurt
and that it would never stop
that the we would continue to run even when the dream
ends
every cut mine, every drop of red yours
everything painful – only ours

“Small Impossible Dream” – Nayana Nair

Her floor had always been the color of the season
I remember this, only when I step into the mess of her life.
The spring issues lay scattered like the flowers
The pink, red, yellows, and greens,
women who only know youth,
women who only grow younger
the kind of woman she wanted to be
(what a small impossible dream)
and she almost is.
And now that she can never change
would she be happy?
When/if she comes across her own lifeless eyes in the missing posters
would she be glad to be one of the “sad popular”?
I shatter the home of her missing goldfish
in my haste efforts to pick them up
and put them out of sight- the bundles of glossy paper
that my eyes can’t handle.
I try to put them away,
wanting to throw them away
now that she wouldn’t mind, now that she won’t yell at me
or anyone for taking away too much of her.
I want to try it.
i want to try, so she has no option but to stop me.
“let’s leave her in peace” tells me my moral compass and my grief.
“i don’t want to show her the kind of respect that only dead deserve”
shouts back my anger and my love.
I drop the heaviest bag in this world on her rain soaked bed.
Her last dress, her last chocolate wrapper, her last bus ticket,
her last mistake, her last breath
everything spilling out,
everything ruining the spring that I dreamed for her along with her.

"Ports" – Nayana Nair

a blue cloudy sky over a banana plantation.
the only word to be heard – rebellion.
someone is crying far away.
another round of bullets leave the shaking hands
of the one who can’t seem to stop crying.
now he must die just like me.
he rests his bloody head and its murky thoughts on me.
in this last afternoon of my life
i drift into bouts of darkness,
without fear for first time,
with the company of only his confused memories.
will this be my last dream – his life?
even in his head my homeland and its afternoons are beautiful.
he has a face that he doesn’t want to forget,
he has childhood home he can always return to
but he didn’t, he regrets it now.
he remembers the red color that his sister
stopped wearing on her lips
once her heart was broken badly.
how he kept it with himself, as a symbol of happiness
that he can’t have only for himself.
there are ports on rainy days
and buildings that became sadder at night.
he once painted the window that would never open to him
or anyone else for that matter.
he cried when another nameless woman was found lifeless
on the last page corner of newspaper
and the window never lighted anymore.
there is a cafe filled with few bombs that didn’t go off
where the only one spared was him.
he doesn’t want to be spared anymore.
i wonder if he thinks that he can have happiness when he ends.
i wonder if i will be able to smile on a rainy day, even if i am born again.

“fairy tales” – Nayana Nair

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a broken end
with a light
(a lighter duller than me)
touches me.
someone
says the magic words,
the loathsome words
that make me the old alice.
i am made to leave
the seat, the home,
the dream, the rights
that are too big for me.
they leave me a tiny suitcases
filled with fancy dresses
made of used socks and handkerchiefs.
they are cute,
they are kind,
they have read their fairy tales right.
i have never read the right books,
so i find myself unable to thank them
or kiss their hands.
thumblina says my new belongings in glitter
i do not know what this name means
or the fate that the owner of this name is meant to find
but i have heard it is better than being an alice.
(i liked being alice more
i liked a story written for my sake.)
as i walk into the new forest,
towards hopefully my last story
or at least a story i can make my own for once,
i can’t help but think of
all the laughing men, now laughing giants
fixing my home to their liking.
i can’t help but be a bit bitter
looking at my hands that can only build for people like them.

“Deer” – Nayana Nair

In our reflection in the disappearing stream
you look like the golden deer
that I am not supposed to want.
The water angels,
one of which we might end up
eating for dinner tonight,
swims into my face, distorting the light in my eyes,
splitting my lips, my cheeks, my smile into two,
into four, into hundred, into thousand pieces of light.
Till I am forced to admit
that I must stop here.
So I leave, making my last excuse.
I walk away trying to forget
the monstrous face I wear
when I am at the verge of breaking the world for my wants.

“how storms fade” – Nayana Nair

twenty-six steps away from the cold end,
we stand together as if we are both looking
at a foe we must defeat together.
a child passes us by with a yellow balloon.
how misplaced it seems, this child
in this place made of storms.

this is something i don’t want to do.
our steps will fade into the deep end of this lake
while the mother in me would summon the face of this child
as a hope of what i could have had
if I could endure a little bit more.

an invisible small hand curls around my fingers
as your voice falters and you mess up our last song.
the ghost of your future, whatever face they may have, have also arrived.
so i put back the sweater on
and you check the calls you must return
as the ones who intend to live on only do.

“Waiting for Winter” – Nayana Nair

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if i carry a flower in my heart.
if i could name this flower after myself
and i walk into rooms where i do not belong
and tried to become a garden, become a spring
to all the orbs of winter walking past me,
would they stop and look into my eyes
and see the effort, the sincerity i am putting
to flower one last time?

“Last Everything” – Nayana Nair

There are bouts of tears,
phone calls,
consolation, advice,
and it ends.

The river stops
and flows again.

There are missed calls, busy tone,
letters never penned,
the sky
that didn’t shatter like glass.

The river stops
and flows again.

There is me,
there is you,
there are our days together
and the days we will never have.

Nothing ends
even if I break.
The river stops
and flows again,
even if I lose
my last breath,
my last love to it.

“Selfish till the end” – Nayana Nair

i stumble,
fall,
bruise my face,
find your lips
break my ribs,
kiss your hate
and pray
for the noise of my heart
for your sad voice
to be silenced.
pray that i don’t wake up
for a long long time
is ‘long long time’ enough to be forgotten?
pray that the ones i love
who don’t want to love me, but they do
do not walk into this scene
where i plead in incomprehensible words
for mercy,
for death of my senses
for a sleep without your face,
without your ruined heart
pray that they do not see
how easily i break.
pray they don’t force my last words
to be the words that have always made my heart ache
i love you?

“Better Clone” – Nayana Nair

If you were to find a love
that could make you complete,
I hope you find it with me.
I hope I become better
before you start looking for this love.
So that being myself won’t mean
being cruel and uncaring.
So that loving me won’t be a sacrifice.

I want to have you
without breaking you
and without breaking me.
But how often does life work out like that.

When you became the question of my life,
all I could do was hope
because what I had was not enough for myself.
What if you were to ask me something
that would remind me of my poverty?

I am afraid that this
is what you are meant to do in my life-
remind me again and again
that I am lacking in so many ways.

But all I can do is try
try to become someone who has lesser faults.
Because giving you up
is not something that I would ever want.
But some nights I wonder how long will I last
before I collapse under the weight
of your wants and mine.

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