“Painting water lilies” – Nayana Nair

.

There was a lot of burning that day, I remember.
The black skies still cling
to the corner of my eyes.
But I don’t know fire as intimately as you do.
When I flip through your notebooks,
I only find essays made of water.
The color from my nails seep into the page.
They find the most fragile words,
the true and weak words,
words with a faint crack
similar in the shape
to the one that adorns your heart.
My nails, my cheeks become pale
as all my colors flow out of me,
as if by some urgent need,
to bloom over these words, over you,
to aid you in your hiding,
to shield you silently.

“prompts” – Nayana Nair

.

i think of parasols.
i think of wearing my miniature body made of colorful frills,
holding my own soft innocence,
not like something that can be and will be lost
but like something that will never be destroyed,
like something one never gives a second thought about.
i think of never knowing fatigue, never resting.
my skin only knowing the sun.
i think of classrooms fitted with air coolers
i think of home and its beautiful cold floor
i think of places i knew i could always return to
once i was done with my playing, once i felt my hunger.
i think of the time that i lived not knowing not understanding
the appeal or the need of shadows.

i think of stones.
their small happy weight in my hands.
the deftness of my fingers and my wrist as i played.
my palm holding them together,
scattering them, collecting them.
my palm feeling the coldness of the evening,
knowing time through them.
i think of the stones that grew on the sides of broken roads
beside my source of earliest magic
-the touch-me-nots, the insects made of velvet,
and the lost fireflies.
i grew up in a broken forest
wearing stones as brittle as me.

i think of fruits.
their colors that i loved
even when i didn’t like what they were.
they tasted too mellow, too tame,
too transient to me.
their juices just carved a bit more hunger
in my stomach. my stomach that was already learning
to ask for more and more.
i carved their colors in my notebook.
i dreamt of drawing them up on my skin.
this was before i knew what a tattoo was,
before i learnt the dangers of carving things in you
that you can’t possibly love.

“maybe once” – Nayana Nair

his name doesn’t feel like a dying world now.
once,
maybe once
blue was his favorite word,
i was his favorite person thing medicine game hope
but now that he is burning all his notebooks
i believe life is getting better for him.
he paints skies for me, paints me flowers
that have never known cold.
once,
maybe once
i could let myself rest in him
but now that he has found himself
i can’t bear to be lost in front of him.

“mornings break us apart again” – Nayana Nair

she traced the light on my chest
pulled out everything that stung-
the swings, my feet,
the shadow i decided no longer to play with.

the comparision table of veins and arteries
copied into my notebook.
the eraser and pencil that helped me document
in those tables my lackings compared to everyone else.

a page torn, and then another, and then another.
pages that learnt immortality by choosing my heart as home.

she stayed up nights trying to free me
as i stuggled and begged not to empty me.
she smiled and said the words she didn’t mean,
words that i wanted to hear from someone, anyone.

so i slept because she couldn’t be stopped.
“leave me alone” now hurt me more than her.
i opened my eyes and cried
for her work was done,
now i was no one, now nothing was mine,
not even my pain, not even her.

she dusted her cobweb skirt,
placed a kiss on my forehead
and told me to breathe,
breathe in everything
that i didn’t think i had the right to.

she told me to breathe
and to never forget what suffocation felt like.
it helps in becoming kind, she said.

as she wiped clean her traces from my life,
i felt better, again i was full.
i was full of her, of this love that won’t work out.
being full of her, i refused to breathe,
because i wanted to keep it that way.