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"I let him drive" – Nayana Nair

I roll down my window
hoping for the first time
that I knew how to drive
so that I wouldn’t have a confused witness
to my impulse of moving forward by a mile
and falling down by a heartbeat.

“Is everything alright?”,
he asks me too often.
I don’t bother to calm him down by saying ‘yes’
as I was doing an hour ago.
Nothing I say can now convince him of my normality.
So I let him drive and let myself collapse.
I bury my face in my lap
and breathe better by suffocating myself a little bit more.

He hums a song that reminds me of the love
that now lives in a country I have not seen
in a life that I will always guess inaccurately
with a girl who has a serious case of klemptomania.
Last time I called the stolen one,
I was given a sorry and an address of a better therapist.

I let my ring burn my heart.
I ask the driver to leave me somewhere no one can find me
knowing he will not, he will take me home
just like he doesn’t everyday,
and he will make sure to greet me
with a kind forgetfulness the next morning.

I wish I had kept more strangers like him in my life,
someone who would worry about me.

"Anomaly of the Art Class" – Nayana Nair

I row my heart
to the moon you drew,
the one you colored in green
ignoring every reality,
for which you got an D,
for which I lost a part of me.

I no longer hold onto the poems filled with dread-
dread of rejection, of future, of finding myself eventually broken.
I see something that you have left behind in me.
Something that still burns, still lives for a reason.
Something that is much more than an art class with disappointed teacher.
Something that helped me hug back the blue parts of me.

I row my heart
to the moon you drew,
to the world I traced
with my own brave hands.

"A Big Word" – Nayana Nair

I am happy. Almost.
I leave my bed to sit beside the window
that looks over the road.
I stare at everything that lives and dies beside me.
I will my brain to think of a rhyme
that I can gift this world.
I feel that my love for this ocean
of people far exceeds my loathing.
I am almost happy to be alive.
Though almost is a big word, a painful word.
It is is still smaller than the distance I have covered so far,
it is negligible to everything that has ever stood in my way.
‘Almost’ is something I can overlook,
as long as I have something to look forward to.
I cannot give up on this world even when I should.

"Delicate" – Nayana Nair

On Sundays, I wear the purple summer dress
that I once promised myself I would never wear.
I paint my nails, I color my lips, and I open the windows in me.
I become someone I was taught to hate, I try to break
my hatred with my smile.
I let myself be reigned
by the greed for beautiful, sweet, shining things.
I think of all the things I have tried not to want.
I let myself be the delicate vulnerable woman
that is easy to love, easy to idolize,
easy to abuse, easy to blame, and easy to hate.
I tell myself that it is not my fault,
but the more I live the harder it becomes to believe it.
I fall asleep on the floor where first I tasted blood,
wondering why I can never give up on this dress, this dream
that has given me nothing but hurt.

“Bland” – Nayana Nair

I heard her again complain about warm hands.
A hand that remains warm, always warm,
so warm that it almost becomes a fault, a flaw.
That it turns into blame, into words that make no sense-
“I could have loved him if he was not so good.
Good is suspicious. Good is bland.
Good is you when you try to be something you are not.
He cannot know my heart, if he cannot be human enough to sin”, she said.
I wonder why I never met them – the bland people
who would be good for my heart, whom I seek in every hand I touch.
Maybe I confused grand gestures, big promises, passionate gaze
for goodness too many times.
I wonder if it is just my weakness, my weariness
that now wants someone harmless to live along with.

“Even if you don’t want me back” – Nayana Nair

From the corner of my eye
I see you smile,
I see it fade.
I see you fade.

From the corner of my eye
falls a tear,
as I run into my mistakes,
run into my cruel words,
as I try to find you,
in this place where you once lead me by my hand.

In every space, in every memory,
in every version of our past
where you promised
you would always stay even if we part.
You look a bit more tired.
I look a bit more impatient.
This is not the reality I lived.
This is not the love I had.

Tell me,
even if it changes nothing,
tell me
that I once had your heart,
that there are moments you want to return to
even when you don’t want me back.

“The owners of my mind” – Nayana Nair

I finally sit with people
who have owned my mind,
who have left it astray,
who have come back at inopportune moments
to claim a bit of my peace for their own heart.

They say guilt keeps them awake at nights.
They say they need me once again.
They need to see the smile of another victim
to convince themselves that they deserve happiness,
that they can move on.

They say the echoes of my cries in their head
have grown worse with time.
So I sit with them and tell them that they can live again.
Only because I cannot bear these demands to be forgiven
or the proposals of relationship grown on the manure of my corpse.
So I ask them to forget me, so that I can forget them.

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