“The ocean is so huge and weird” – Nayana Nair

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I drew her shadow on sand.

She stood still, her tiny shoulders
and ribs (that thankfully can no longer be seen)
moved gently with each breath.
Each tiny breath
like the wave that swept in,
like her laughter used to be.
She looks at me and asks if it is done.
I nod. I meant to say “almost”.
Just like I had meant to say “stop”,
or “please don’t” or “take me and spare her”.
She doesn’t wait for my answers anymore.
She skips over the boundaries of our shadows.

Her outline of me drawn in shaky fingers,
looks like a human being pulled apart
beside her own shadow – a child, complete and perfect.
But she looks at her shadow and calls it weird,
just like how she called the ocean weird.

For her
the smiling children in the glossy magazine were weird,
a chocolate bar without an occasion. without a reason were weird,
the memories of home she wanted to forget were weird,
the days she walked to school with her friend
and the days the sun went down as she slept over the
struggles of homework were weird.
She sat down and tried to come up with an answer for my “why”.

“the ocean is so huge.
as huge as, all the things i can’t have
but once i had them. it is weird.

it is weird how this ocean is mine now,
the breeze is mine along with the sky
but i don’t want them.

you have memorized my shadow.
you keep bringing me back to life
but you tear up so easily as if even you don’t believe yourself.
as if you don’t believe in me .

sometimes i feel that this ocean is our gift to each other,
it is our heart free of our bodies.
sometimes i believe that i am here and you are here
and the world where my head can rest in your lap
still exists.”

“Why doesn’t anything break me” – Nayana Nair

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now that this was happening for real

i wonder why isn’t it like

the ground breaking into pieces too small to support any life,
why the all the dragonflies weren’t dropping dead?
why all the butterflies still exist in color?

why isn’t it like

lungs filled with tears or the dramatic beautiful drowning into myself.
why am I able to keep track of time?
why am I stapling and stacking papers with a preciseness i never had?

i accept everything way to easily, i suspect

maybe even the love that almost took my life was not that deep.
maybe my limits were just as harsh as the room
with broken air conditioner on the day of perfect weather.

but why?
why then don’t I remember

the days of perfect weather
where there must have been something
worth crying for, breaking for, killing for. why doesn’t anything break me.

why then

are there open windows filled with light still stuck on the walls of my heart,
why is there music in the world sadder than my own self.
why do I envy everyone who gets to have a real grief, real love.

why is it so, that

it makes sense for the color of end to be my favorite.
it makes sense that i am left with myself and i still feel safe and i still know hope.
i wonder this numbness or cold heartedness – what it will do to me?

what will it do to me?
what will i end up as?
(i am avoidant and anxious and selfish and cruel and “never yours” already)
what/who will you end up loving instead?
(if you die before me, in the arms of someone who could see you better than me,
should I cry or not? would you be still expecting my tears?
when should i stop keeping count of what i owe to you?)
what new thing will i learn to run away from?

i hear such words from my mouth a bit too frequently, for it to be just a mood.
sometimes it all adds up.
that all i can do is think of myself
and end up doing a bad job at it
just so that someone else wants to do it better than me
it so looks like love. but it makes sense that it isn’t.

“Saving only December” – Nayana Nair

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All the spring’s color
have been molten and poured
into the broken casts of summer.
They seep into ground, into autumn leaves
that falls in every space between you and me.
They sing something for us again
as we shiver and stop ourselves from giving in,
as you hold back from saying every word
that can fix me (at least for now).
I google how to kill feelings
that don’t let me eat or speak or smile.
I bite my lips trying to bury the words
that would shine in your colors, if you were to look at me.
If you were to look at me, you would be only sad
to know how unchangeable my heart is.

You tear sheet after sheet, rip them out of calendar
and hand them to me.
We burn 11 months, saving only December, because you never know.
There is a knock on our door, someone who is lost
brings in the chilled wind, the fine dust of snow,
and voices celebrating something we will never understand.
I wait for you to come back and settle into you warm sleep.
I sit at the foot of the sofa, and think about
the one time I dreamt of death.
I was looking out of window waiting for you
and you came back with new pair of eyes that never settled on me,
and when I was almost about to cry
you moved towards me with a dying sparrow in your trembling hands.
It lay on its side with its soft violent gasp for breath
that were perfectly in sync with mine.

“Personal Sun. Personal Shadow.” – Nayana Nair

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the green pastures
the white fences
the perfect fake loving gaze
the debts of kindness
the half that never completes itself for once
the ornamental lackings of my being

the personal sun, the privilege to look away
and never know the heart of one who can’t
the greed such that I can’t stop receiving

the ideals that I can live without,
ideals that are already falling short
to accommodate
my monstrous growth, my falls from grace,

All these,
everything that I say I don’t need
is also
all that I cannot give back.

It is easier for me
to live,
to be kind,
to understand,
to love
with a life of hypocrisy,
with a guilt weighing down my heart,
with the smile that I can get only because
the world is unfair.

It is easier for me to smile
at the knife stuck in my back.
It is easier to forgive
when I cannot forget my own blood stained hands,
my own reckless selfish heart.

“I cannot tell the difference”- Nayana Nair

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“Long time ago” is a dangerous neighborhood.
All its season are holograms of perfect world,
the illusions of rain and snow and sun,
the illusion of hearts still beating under the non-existent skin.
The technician of this a weary magic
lives beside the empty park in the middle of my heart.
He knows the perfect days to make me cry, to make me see.
He invents new people, new details.
Sometime these are fake stand-ins for the what he has lost
in his war against me, all that I intend to forget.
Sometime they are what I failed to realize,
people I didn’t get to love.
Most days I can’t tell the difference
between the words I have forgotten
and the ones I will never hear
again.
This town
has post offices with stamps of words I no longer mean
stuck on its wall.
There cars and houses and roads and rivers
owned by people who will never die.
They all gather on my birthday
in the cemetery of one grave.
They sit on the endless green grass with their picnic baskets,
with the kids I will never have, with the pets I will never keep
and look into the eyes that will never look at me.
They smile knowing something I will never know.

“The door opens slowly” – Nayana Nair

I turned another corner
and walked into another house
that I knew nothing about.
The owner, the god of this land stood there
outside in the garden
telling a child how to create more beautiful loops,
how to somersault,
how to find more worms, more of everything.
An adult placed like a talisman
that couldn’t keep me
or what I bring with me away.
He didn’t even notice the grave that I carried in me,
the open pits in ground awaiting more bodies.

I walked to the front door and rang the bell
thinking, wondering what must I not be seeing
in the person I see as a fool.
I wonder if the graves in him didn’t love him back as well.
The door opens slowly and I wait.
I let my willingness to wait announce to her that it is me.
She makes me a wait a bit more-
that is the nature of game we are caught in.

Seconds and hours I spend on her couch,
waiting for the commotion outside to end,
for “the happy family on a sunday morning” to end.
She has four brother
and an almost sister that they never talk about.
She reminds me this a few more times
so that on the mental map of belonging and similarities
I find this unnamed sister closer to my role.

They rush in like a flood, like a rain gone wrong-
all these bodies that I am not supposed to see.
“They are perfect”, I thought to myself.
I thought of my mother, the anger in my home,
the counting of countless miseries,
the coarse harsh words that filled my eyes, then filled my mouth,
the gentle sunsets that drown only dreams.
“They are perfect”, I think, “for someone living in the same world as me”.

She tells them about my scholarships, about my fragile upbringing,
about the art that runs in me.
She tells them all about the things that they like.
For today she has made them into me.
I smile and say a little too less.
I smile as if I mean no harm.

But I know
I am here.
I am here and there is no escape
from the fact that eventually
I will sit in this room with my love
and with a glitter pen running out of ink.
I will draw, deepen the cracks that I already see.

Such is my nature.
Such are the songs that I live on repeat.

“The eyes of my mother” – Nayana Nair

I planted the idea of a happy family,
a happy tomorrow,
into the eyes of my mother
with breaking tips of my pencils
against her granite eye lashes.

I told her the story about the boy
who is ever so sad
because his parents didn’t care enough,
who weeps on his empty birthdays,
who weeps into my heart.
I tell her I am not so fine myself.
Maybe she didn’t hear me clearly,
cause she didn’t stop
her daily charade of writing her “the last letter”.

I cleared her bed, her table, her words, her being
from the perfectly modeled replica of world in my mind.
I showed her, “Look, this is how I will look
with you gone. Look, look at what you must not do to me.”

She pulled me close, and held my hand for a bit too long,
a bit too tenderly
as if letting me know, telling me
“Look, this is how I look when I am alive.
Look, look at me pouring out of myself, dragging my feet
even till the end. Look, look at what I can no longer live as.”

And I stood there for a long time,
slowly understanding things I possibly couldn’t.
I stood there for a long time,
till my mom’s face was replaced by that of the ever so sad boy
as he held me, letting me cry into him
for the hundredth time.

“Enough for me” – Nayana Nair

She climbed the stairs
never pausing for a second.
I knew what a second of thought could do.
How it could pull back her steps
and let out her screams.
I knew this is something she didn’t need.

She climbed the stairs
and walked towards me.
Beside me, not exactly near,
steps away perhaps she stood.
And that was enough for me.

Enough for me to not know of loneliness.
Enough for me to not feel fear
what all I could never be.
She stood where I could grow if I chose to,
where I could happily fall apart
and she would never leave.

But I also knew that meaning of this distance
which she hoped I didn’t see.
Being her mirror, as I looked at her from this distance,
I realized this carefully measured out space-
how beautiful and perfect
and safe it was.
She always stood far enough
so her heart wouldn’t rely on me to beat.

“50 goodbyes a day” – Nayana Nair

There are no dances waiting for us,
no innocent moments of sunlight,
no darkness or headlights striking our windows,
nothing worth the wait.
We are stranded here in this life.
We are stranded on a planet
far away from our home-
a home that becomes more and more beautiful,
the more we are convinced there is no way back.

Here the days are longer than our lifespan combined.
Here we record 50 goodbyes to ourselves a day.
The air, the hurricanes,
the rain, the smile,
this peace of mind
are all just luminescent chemicals
that delivers more than its promise
of a near death exhilaration.

The rainbow of lies is our constant sky
the friend we cannot live without.
It is the only thing
that helps us live with the dust of betrayal
that settles on the clothes left out to dry-
another thing we much dust away and forget,
another thing we must do to be called a “good sport”.

I sit here knitting another version
of my beautiful glorious past,
another tribute to the world filled with rare ordinary
and you sit across me
complaining about what the world has come to
as you paint my brain to match the new you-
one less insecurity in this perfect world.