“Shifting places” – Nayana Nair

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Somewhere far away, in the early hours
a window cracks by the shrieks of a woman.

Let’s wait, let it end, it will be nothing,
it will end up like all the other things made up in my mind.

It will end, it will end –
I chant under my breath.

But it doesn’t end.
Wave after wave, it rushes towards me, to the doors of reality.

And in response something in me cries back, something in me knocks back hard.
Now all I can think is – “I must run. If I run I can reach there.

If I run fast enough there will be little blood lost,
a little mind saved. If I run, I can make it in time before the worse begins.”

But the roads keep disappearing, the houses shift places, everyone laughs a little louder
as I move forward only to be yanked back and pulled down.

There is someone far away waiting for my help
and her flesh is just as weak as mine. Her throat must be sore, her heart must ache.

I wait and cry for an eternity
before I hear everyone walk away. Before I hear hope approaching.

Hope sounds like
wheels of a bicycle and the broken whistle of a kid.

It sounds like “are you alright? aren’t you cold?”
It looks with puzzled eyes at my clothes that are somewhat not right.

It tells me universal facts like
“if you lie there either cold will kill you or a oncoming truck”

Hope tells me I am not dead yet.
I hope she is alive as well.

“As if out of a dream” – Nayana Nair

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The leaves flew back to their trees.
The fruits became never eaten, never ripened, never born.
The papers on my desk forgot how to exist for themselves.
For a moment I feared maybe this is how
the past love, the healed hurt returns.
But it wasn’t so.

That day, on that bleak morning
you looked at me
and my heart learned to believe again.
My lips reached out to learn your name.
Your name, as if out of a dream, settled on my shoulders
and told me I can rest.

On that morning, that should have been like the hundred others,
I learnt that in spite of my bitterness and my disappointment
I wanted to believe in this world.
And even in my denial I was waiting for a moment like this.

A moment in which my broken and incomplete heart
is returned to its original state of trust, as if by a miracle,
by your gentle touch of understanding.
I feared calling it love, when I knew that it already was.
No other word would suffice.

“Winter on my cheek” – Nayana Nair

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He lived in the cracks
of the window I could never close.
The sun and the wind, the winter on my cheeks
were all him.
It was a reminder of the mornings
when he held the hands of his softer feelings,
when he silently took the path to brokenness
and named that day after me.
It was the reminder of his kiss
that would make me look away, make me look awkward,
make me do everything almost wrong but with innocence-
everything that made him smile.
I would step on his shadow
and before I apologized, he would step on mine.
He would call it dancing
cause there was no better word for that.
I would smile back forgetting myself

It was a beautiful word.
It was a moment that answered the question
that I never knew how to ask.

“Crutch” – Nayana Nair

I let your hand become my crutch.
I let your feelings for me
become a means of my own validation.
I let “love” slip
from my mind.
Being the center
of your tiny universe
has ruined me, has undone my heart.
You are too close, too close to be seen
or to be cared for.
Each morning your face reminds me
how you are become one step closer
to achieving invisibility in my eyes.
“i cannot imagine not being your everything”
is not the same as “i love you”.
I wonder if you know that.
I wonder if you know
that this difference
of what I feel
and what I should
is killing anything humane left in me.

“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.

“A Sadness to Replace You” – Nayana Nair

The lines are drawn.
The teams have been split.
Now I must show loyalty only to “my kind”.
Now I must learn by heart
the roads that I am not allowed to take.
Your heart probably lies on one of those roads.
That’s probably the reason, why my feet won’t walk in your direction.

What is it like to live in the better half of the world?
My limited imagination sees you as only you
and that’s why I know that I am going to be hurt badly.
A friend tells me with sadness, “staying away would be kinder love”.
He plays me a beautiful tune, a melody to replace you,
a consolation of sorts, a very poor (though thoughtful) consolation.

The sun is a quadrant setting only on my half of world,
although no one has yet tried to split this moon.
How fortunate are we to share at least this sorrow, at least the night.
On every night sky you are my hope written in neon.
Every morning, you are a dream that I force myself to forget.
But no words, no consolation can make me forget you.

“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.

“Surely, I will love you” – Nayana Nair

The memories I burnt away
have turned into spirits, into thoughts
that hold me back from naming and keeping this happiness
that sits at my doorstep, waiting for my love.
And though the shadows of my past are tied to my legs,
though they rattle on empty roads
and never let the the dust of my life settle.
But ‘it is not so bad’ is also a sentence
that I have learnt to say with ease
and I sometimes even mean those words as they leave my mouth.
For there is a doorstep where a heart like yours
waits for me to heal, your wait makes the plant of trust
grow in my heart again.
Every morning I find myself, my lips
a bit closer to the the words
that only you deserve to hear.

“Precious” – Nayana Nair

A pane breaks
somewhere far away.
Everyone precious to me
stays there-
this place called ‘far away’.
So these things I must record,
these things I must remember

“it could have been a stranger”,
I try to reason.
But it is of no avail.
I am afraid that the life broken just now,
must be too close to me
for my heart to bleed so,
for my hands to go limp.

The nights I read every book
on ‘how to hide this incurable pain from my family’,
they flash in front of my eyes.
That is all I see
when I dial their number and they don’t pick up.
That is all I see
when they pick the call
and tell me that they can never be ‘not fine’.
That is all I see
when I see holes in their stories,
when I see a new hole in their smile every morning.

“Counting the Pieces Left” – Nayana Nair

shadows of evening
are still in my room
the morning rays,
the flickering light bulb,
your laughter,
they don’t do much.

cause this life
of mirrored sunshines and smiles
makes me feel nothing.
there is something wrong with my heart
which you might have known all along.

i toss another piece of me
into the ocean.
it is one other piece of me
that you will never see, will never have again.
you hold my hand and tell me
what i have thrown away
was too difficult to find in this world,
that it was your most favorite thing about me.

i want to cry and apologize to you
but i sit there feeling relieved
now that I have one less thing to lose.
there is something wrong with me
to not want your kindness and your love.
it is not your fault dear.