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“could-have-beens” – Nayana Nair

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when saw my skin, i saw only cracks
cracks that would have looked worse
if i could see better.
i wanted to look away
but all i could do was think-
age is creeping up on me
slowly and cruelly
and you are not here.

i think of all the things
i can never have now.
things i meant to do everyday
things i put off, delayed
because you needed time.
all the things i denied myself
because i wanted to wait for you.

but the weight of things i have given up
seems to have increased exponentially
since you learnt to change your mind.

so me and my could-have-beens
we sit at different tables in the same world,
looking at each other with disappointment.
how ridiculous is this
that i am waiting,
even when there is no one to wait for,
even when i know that running away
was the only thing you could be relied upon for.

“Words that I must not forget, but I will” – Nayana Nair

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A stranger told me
that I am capable of living better,
if only I throw away my thoughts and assumptions
about what I deserve and what I should not want.

The sun tiptoed around me
stealing a bit of my shadow for every minute
that I stood at the door created by these words.
But I didn’t have the courage to go inside.

So I went back to living my life in the worst ways.
But, for some time I was happy just by thinking
that there exists a door that one day I can open,
that I probably looked more human that I thought.

That in itself was a happiness, a relief
I never thought I could feel-
knowing that the what I had lost was not myself,
but the only heart to face myself, to comfort myself.

“Stack of Books from Strangers” – Nayana Nair

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Now everything tastes like my oft-repeated past.
This bitter turn of events
has brought new meaning to my pain that I didn’t ask for.
This morning I even look like someone who needs help.

I guess I may have looked that way for a long time
in everyone’s eyes but mine.
In my eyes, I was doing better,
good enough to be not noticed and singled out.

I smiled enough to keep people from seeing
all the mess I carried in me.
But lately, strangers hand me books
to keep my sad mind busy.

Books that tell me
that it is not too late, that one at a time
I can make something out of the soil that won’t leave my skin,
the soil that I am buried under.

I want to believe in this nonsense more than anyone can imagine.
But my heart is not the same now
as it was years ago.
It no longer believes the words that feel good and hurt later.

“A Dull Reflection of Hope” – Nayana Nair

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In a dull handheld mirror
that had yet to be broken,
I looked at myself
and realized
that someone is dying inside me.

I didn’t know how to accept this,
so I solved every question in my math textbook.
I learned to eat more and sleep late.
Stared at my wrist for hours.
Pretended to sleep fearing questions.
Tried a bit of every sin
and waited around to be damned.

I felt a constant urge to break someone
so this world could be little less happier.
But death claimed my heart
before I could do that.
So now I write “love” on your tongue
without knowing what it means.

“I can be your helpless angel” – Nayana Nair

I place broken glass of every color at your feet.
I know how you loved the way they looked.
I will re-create every beauty that you asked for,
I will make them incapable of the danger that you fear.
So that you can walk in this unsettling world,
walk over every broken glass.
I can draw a faceless person to walk by your side,
so you don’t have to feel sorry
when you forget their names
or when they forget you.
It is a world you can never be in
but I will draw it anyway,
because this world that I don’t want for you
is the only world that can make you happy.

“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.

“Craft” – Nayana Nair

the broken stories that you lived on
were never actually broken.
these stories are not pieces of a whole,
but a whole that is meant to look like a piece.
they are made so.
they are crafted to be faulty, to look like us,
to look like the things we want to be but aren’t.
so that it can fit into our heart,
so that we can nibble on it
with our tiny dry mouth
that has given up on food, love, and life.

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