“Painting Summer” – Nayana Nair

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As my teacher with broken voice
dictated another question on radius and heights
and the mountains where no snow, no season, no name sticks;
I turned another page and wrote the name of an emperor
who died even though he believed he won’t.
I smiled and tried to correct the very very wrong spelling
of a national political party that my friend wrote. It doesn’t matter she said,
when I couldn’t figure out what was exactly wrong with it.
At lunch, she leaned against the wrong window,
the one with fresh coat of blue paint,
and told me a joke which she memorized
only to remember it wrong.
I again gave her the laugh that meant nothing in particular.
But I knew she loved it when I reacted like this-
as if she is forcing a laughter out of my silent sombre heart,
as if she is wining over me all my resistance.
But I was nothing like that.
I was nothing like she thought me to be.
My heart was already open. She was already inside me-
writing melodies with her soft steps beside me,
painting summer sun over every window I looked out of.
But these are things that need no telling,
there are my treasures I won’t allow her to take back,
these are the answer she will never realize.
I hand in another assignment, another answer sheet
that looks too little like me, that raises the eyebrows of people
who realize they couldn’t teach me a thing right.
I walk back to my seat wondering
if my shirt is tainted red with my love
like her back is filled with butterflies of blue.

“Before Alphabets” – Nayana Nair

Before knowing the alphabets
of your name or mine,
I learnt to make you smile.
I pluck another flower that makes me sneeze every time
but the silly pathetic me smiles as you smile
as I crawl to you
losing balance,
losing something similar to heart,
as I dress you up in a mountain of petals I clenched too hard
hoping you would never move away from me.
How you dozed off as I made myself sick with my ambition.
How you were still sleeping as your mother took you in arms
brushing away every piece of my care.
But it is better than the days I woke up
with only the traces of my feelings, my cradle of flowers
without you in it.

“Wrong Answer” – Nayana Nair

My guarantees and my assurances
do not come from my own voice,
do not reflect even a iota of my feelings.
They are not my words
and won’t ever be mine
even if voice them a million times.
But you have to make do with these promises,
the same way I am settling for yours.
I cannot say “love me, i’ll make you happy“.
I am the wrong answer,
I have to lie, I have to cheat
to be chosen.

If I was honest, if I loved you for real,
I would have told you this:

“my words, these empty castle hallways,
the mountains that never answer back,
a mirror lost and flooded with darkness,
the habit of taking up, stealing beautiful names
the thrill of forgetting,
every kind of messed up love,
a sweeter hate to forget reasons
they are all yours,
but you are better without them”

I must hate you a lot,
to hold your hand like this.

“Approaching Night” – Nayana Nair

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The light that drips from your skin
feels like sunlight frozen.
As you float among the spirits
of far away desolate planets,
who have found home in you,
who like me have found you too full of life.
You walk to me,
hold me close and bury your fire
in my heart. The mountain and the sea
that belong to you,
have erased the life
that I’ve lived before.

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On the path lined with trees-
their shade and your joys
becoming just memories with approaching night.
You walk to me,
you hold me close and bury your face
your regrets, your tears in my skin
and give me a moment of the future I can never have.
And soon I see you dissolve in the sea foam,
in the waters where we were born.
I find my hands filled with your share of happiness
and sky filled with flowers that once grew in your hands.

“Not Love” – Nayana Nair

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The mountains I must scale
and the currents I must swim against
are all in you.
Love has nothing to do with
me wanting to know the storm you have become.
I find myself the reason
of your flooded cities of hope,
the chaotic streets of your mind.
I refuse to leave you alone in this disaster,
even after knowing
that my departure is the only way to
quieten the commotion in your life.
Love has nothing to do with my selfish wish
to stay by your side.