“Wedding Photos” – Nayana Nair

It was like magic
running the highlighter, the bright crayon
over the sepia hands of her.
She didn’t complain or cry
as we ruined another photograph of hers,
as we tried to hide the evidence
of her failed love, our failing life.

We cut her out, moved her away
from the one who looked like us.
We placed her side of story, her half of heart
in the albums.
Albums that felt lighter
now that the responsibility
to remember only the good, its difficulty
was no longer our business.

We shredded few faces of his,
few others we drowned in ink.
His face was the reason we couldn’t look at ourselves,
the reasons of all the hurting words
we learned so fast.

After we ruined everything for good
we stared at each other,
and saw the tears we should’t be having in us.
This wasn’t how magic is supposed to feel.
Why?
Why was there no thrill, no relief in what we had done?
Isn’t it our turn to be free from the one who left?

“Black Pond” – Nayana Nair

As I climb,
my steps remembered the shoes I once had
the ones that didn’t hurt so much
and how hands of mine that hacked through them
just to become my own person,
some sort of grown-up.
I climbed over the yellow soft dress
and the light that it caught
just to get this, this body that looks held together
but is not
(this body knows only how to fall apart),
just to get few more shadows that ruin my beautiful wrist
with their persistent passion.
They claw through me, to see how I am made,
how I look and speak once I break.
A stranger once left me at the bottom of a black pond
and called it love just so that I won’t cry
and in return I called him my love
just for few breaths, just for my life.
I climbed over the right to mean the word “love” thereafter
and the dream of knowing a heart other than mine.
I breathe as if I have sinned
yet I walk like I am happiness and determination in flesh.
I cling to all the bitter bits of this world
as if they would ultimately save me.
I climb over, get over, and forget
so easily, so bitterly
that each feeling of mine is just a shade
of resentment.

“my soul is a lonely night” – Nayana Nair

every time i found love
i felt as if all my tears have been forgotten.

but forgetting is not erasing.
it seems i cannot let go of anything that easily.

these joys can only shield me
from what I have suffered for a moment

while my soul is a lonely beautiful night,
a backdrop for my sadness to dance.

my sadness is the only part of me
that remembers the best part of my life.

my sadness is the only part of me
that will remember the best parts of you.

love it well.

“Luminous” – Nayana Nair

The night doesn’t quite reach my land.
There are columns and mountains of light
that my people have given themselves to.

I never roll down my windows.
There is a scent of death in the air.
I don’t want to remember
how burning is painful.

In my mind I run towards the memories
of my perspective correction classes.
I pick out a card, a line that works the most
“burning is luminous”.

Yes, burning is lumious.
Burning is magic, burning is beautiful.
It is beautiful as long as I don’t hear the cries
of one being burnt. It is magic
as long as I don’t ask
for confirmation of my worst fears being true
from the others who never open their windows.

There is red in the news no one talks about,
there is red in the names that disappear over night,
there is red splattered inside the world in my head
but the world is suspiciously clean even when all I smell is death.

When I close my eyes, it is never dark.
Something burns before me, I am always aware of it.
I wonder if I would ever know sleep again.

“5 mins away” – Nayana Nair

As she places her coffee cup on the table,
her eyes sting and ribs hurt
to see the beautiful vase of her life
dearly holding onto the oldest withered flowers of her life.
Flowers were not meant to do this,
she knew.
She also knew
she need not be like this,
things need not be this way.
The market is just 5 minutes away.
When she has enough money to buy new gardens
why lament on handful of roses,
why think about people she can now never love.
But the decision to forget or remember
was never in her hands.
And now she cannot step out and face the world –
the same world who witnessed her pride and confidence
in another human whose faults she refused to see till the end,
the one she called her love.
She felt she owed answers to every one-
for loving the wrong one,
for loving the wrong way,
for seeking a new love,
for saying yes to someone better than her,
for her dissatisfaction
that eats through every heart she tries to love.
She didn’t want to go out and apologize
for wanting.

“What I Remember (23)” – Nayana Nair

i try
to sleep,
to forget
the pain near my spine,
to forget
all the hours in front of me
that i have no use of.
i look at my palm
from near and from as far
as my hands can extend.
i notice how my hands have changed.
do i like it better now?
i wonder if it possible
to like anything about my body now.
i remember once deciding
not to at least hate this skin
that has use for everyone but not to me.
i remember saying “as long as it makes you happy”
at the same time thinking “i don’t think you care for my happiness”.
i stop myself from finding more things that make me confused or miserable.
i unlock my phone.
it’s 8 already-
more and more notifications,
…5GB extra.. Alert:You have spent…
…has added a new post …added a new story
airplane mode, the notifications continue to pile up in my head-
all the words that i will never get to see
that i always expected even when i knew i shouldn’t,
it has been long… …sorry, for making you feel alone…
today i saw something and was reminded of you.
even though we are not together, it is not your fault…
thank you for being there for me… …it must have been tough…
don’t hurt yourself
i feel smaller knowing that even the words i want
are only words of consolation,
just confirmation that i am not the worst.
i look at my hands again and wonder
if my hatred for myself colors my skin.
is that how everyone gets know
that i don’t have the courage
to ask for fair,
for loyalty, for answers?
is that how i look?
someone who doesn’t have the voice
to ask anything anymore.

“where i am going…” – Nayana Nair

you, my love, my sky,
my rain, my breaking heart,
the lines of my fate on my aging hands,
you, my collection of books that read me
more than i read them,
you, the beginning of my life.

i am beginning to realize
the pain of dying, the prospect of being separated
from the warmth of your back, from the
home the turns into a hurricane that centers around you,
centers around us, around the lightning in your heart.
i am told there is only darkness where i am going.
where i am going is a black hole of memories,
there i will see you and not remember who you are.

my love, i do not want to forget you like that.

“What I Remember (22)” – Nayana Nair

Was it 5 years ago, or 6
that we all sat together
looking at the bright beginning
of another series of setbacks
that we were becoming.
The coldness of the wood,
the ruffle of papers, the moment before
we learned to truly hate ourselves.

I miss that.

As we stood waiting in line
for something to take away
everything we were just beginning to see,
I remember thinking,
“I wish I could spend my youth here.
In this moment, with these people.
I am nothing to them, they are nothing to me.
But we are good for each other.
This can never be made again.”
At that moment I knew
they will make my heart ache
for a long time.

In the years that followed
I saw them,
the people who carried the faces
of the ones
I liked enough not to love.
“What’s wrong?” I wanted to ask them
but all I could do was smile
and let my smile tell them
“I will see you for what you were.
At least that I can do for you.
The beauty of your innocence and hope
I will remember it forever.”

“Now playing: the ominous names you are yet to know, yet to resent” – Nayana Nair

I board the train that I could
thinking,
only thinking about the one I couldn’t.
There are only tunnels, only darkness,
no network,
only cold metal that I rest my head
hoping for my fever to come down,
only windows that turn into mirror.

In those momentary mirrors
I always look like someone on life support.
In the crowd that no longer suffocates me
I cling to the wires that fill my ears
with the sound of past, with love that will never come back,
with the love that I will never be,
with everything I can’t bear to talk about nor forget.

Though it pains me to look at myself for more than 2 seconds,
I force myself to withstand my stare.
For if I take my eyes away from me
I end up looking into eyes of strangers
who twist and distort their faces
asking for a reason they can understand
or they end up looking away,
their heart as fragile as mine.

We all act as if we can know each other by a glance,
as if we would prefer to be the backdrop, the wallpaper
than to find eyes that can actually see us,
than to know one more human who is hell bent on proving
the brittleness of our species.
I understand their heart, their fear all too well.
My skin remembers what their heart has forgotten.
Though I don’t think anyone really forgets things like these.

“The last brick is in my heart” – Nayana Nair

In every country, in every city,
on every street
stands a home that could have been ours.
I am a daydreamer like that
As I passed the house with an always crying child,
as I passed the house with the overwhelming smell of incense,
as I passed the house with singing reality shows played on repeat
I only thought of the life we could have there.
In my mind, we fit every house, we fit every role.
Even if our body was stripped of every muscles and every bone
even if we put back together the wrong way,
even if we our heart were to be rearranged,
in my mind we would still fall in love.
That is how we had molded the spirit of our love-
to be stubborn (if not right or just).
But now there are years when I don’t remember you,
and yet there is no sadness in me that is capable of ruining me.
You are gone
and I am trying to grieve for something I don’t particularly miss.
As I pass the houses where our stories used to be staged
I realize they are again the buildings of strangers
that I am supposed to keep my mind away from.
My sadness selfishly keeps uttering,
“I need to love someone, someone who won’t do this to me.
I need to love someone, to believe in love again.”
I reach home with bloody nails and bruised fingers
leaving behind bricks with our names scratched out.