“Telling Signs” – Nayana Nair

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“Does rust affect plastic dreams?”
I ask my teacher in my sleep.
She takes out an axe and starts cutting down
the first mouth filled with wrong answers.
Two rows away
she wipes her brows and folds her sleeves,
she takes another deep breath
before she checks the attendance sheet
and finds the next dream to kill.

She tells me I should think more and ask more
and ask the questions that help me live.
She looks at the metal that grows out of my pores
and gives me another chance.
She says only if I would try to be better
than the people I am clinging to, I could grow up to be her.
I look away from the blood that flowing down her neck,
the parts of her that she intends to kill by holding other’s breath.

“What about my mother’s arms, weak weak exhausted arms?
Are those my telling signs?
Does that mean I don’t have to worry,
that I am just someone next in line?
What about you? Do you rust like me?
Would the color of my rust, would my weakened heart
make me worth protecting,
make me deserving of kinder words?

She told me “It will not get you respect or equality,
if that’s what you are looking for.
It can sure get you love, of some kind, for some time
but it is just a matter of time
before you see the end that only you can write.
And you would end up writing it
cause that painful end would be more truer and more yours
than any love that you find by compromise.”

As she walks past me, smiling lovingly,
as she spares my life, that now she owns.
As she dissolves my only way back,
I realize too late, that my chaos and my doubts
were more hopeful than an answer like this
that promises pain to everyone else but me.

“My place in this cruel landscape” – Nayana Nair

when i stood

in front of the respected uncaring adults
who could never see me,

beside the fickle-minded fun-seeking friends
who smoked ‘idgaf attitude’ every night,

holding the hands
of the demanding demeaning frightening voice
of the one i wanted to love,
the one i almost loved,

i knew how to smile.
i knew how to let them off the hook.
i knew how to care for all those
who don’t have to care for such things.

and so i make it through another day,
another month, another year,
trying not to break anyone anymore,
trying not to abandon anyone,

making a list of all things that were once beautiful about them,
convinced that this imperfect me deserves only suffocating relationships,
careful not to see hope in any short-lived moment of affection.

“TONIGHT” -Nayana Nair

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There is a lot

I have to ask for.

A lot I have to pray.

Knowing love is not enough

To live a life.

I’d rather ask for respect.

I’d rather ask for understanding.

I’d rather have a heart that adores me.

I’d rather have a heart that feels my pain.

I’d rather ask for friendship.

I’d rather beg for care.

Love is meant to be all this.

But somehow it isn’t.

Tonight I won’t ask for all

That I have lost to love.

Tonight I won’t ask

For a change of heart, a miracle.

For tonight, sleep will be enough.

Is that too much to ask?