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"the shadow at the foot of my bed" – Nayana Nair

today is the birthday of one another oddity of mine.
on a day like this,
few calendars ago
i learnt how to turn my helplessness into my charm.
i learnt to fill the glasses, the throats of everyone i know
with something sweet, with a taste they can’t name.
i learnt to become something that can’t be known or hurt.
in my bedroom i sit at the foot of my bed
trying to block out the presence, the weight
of the other half of my body
clinging, clawing, crying, dissociating.
i again forget where i am.
i again forget how to stop shaking.
if i walk a bit more into the darkness
i feel i won’t have to pretend to be the one
who has a say in what happens to her.
a hand slips into mine.
sometimes it rests on my waist,
and i force myself not to feel nauseated.
love him. love her. i tell myself repeatedly.
love. love. love. love till i can make up for all my lacks.
my love is my penance, my apology
to anyone who chooses me as their destiny.

"that's so us" – Nayana Nair

the rains of these kind
that starts with loss and longing
that won’t slow down
won’t shut up
these rains are so much like me
so much like you
indifferent and cruel
i have found another song today
that somehow floats
above the static of this world
i have found another shelter
that fools me into believing
that my sadness is something i can run from
that we will stop belonging to each other
just because we decided to

"but love…" – Nayana Nair

but love
the i cannot see you
without this night,
for you are not my sun
but only it’s reminder.

but love
i can be the person you love
only as long as you love be back,
as long as my heart wants to forget the past
and the owner of my heart.

but love
in your glory
i always fall short.
i yearn to love someone like me,
someone who plans the escape route
while uttering the words
of half-hearted embellished confession.

but love
i don’t want to be healed
my scars are my name
that i fear to lose
as much as i fear losing you

but love
as much as you want me
you should learn to hate me more
your benefit of doubt is wasted on me
as is your love.

but love
i have so many reasons
and so many feelings
that are at war with each other-
a war that i wish you’d win somehow.

but love
i do love you
in some conditional yet selfless way,
there is a sincerity in my love-
a sincerity that won’t do your heart any good.

"Delicate" – Nayana Nair

On Sundays, I wear the purple summer dress
that I once promised myself I would never wear.
I paint my nails, I color my lips, and I open the windows in me.
I become someone I was taught to hate, I try to break
my hatred with my smile.
I let myself be reigned
by the greed for beautiful, sweet, shining things.
I think of all the things I have tried not to want.
I let myself be the delicate vulnerable woman
that is easy to love, easy to idolize,
easy to abuse, easy to blame, and easy to hate.
I tell myself that it is not my fault,
but the more I live the harder it becomes to believe it.
I fall asleep on the floor where first I tasted blood,
wondering why I can never give up on this dress, this dream
that has given me nothing but hurt.

"Fossil" – Nayana Nair

Drop by drop the wax fills
the bucket of broken butterflies.

I am falling into another sleep,
into another death that is warm,
that embraces me like no lover ever has.

I feel the pain in my wings, and unlike other days
I try to think that this will never pass.
That I will remain like this, with a bit of pain always there
in my shoulder blades, under my ribs, aching for a memory that floats
above my body, above my existence.

Someone holds my hand and I let them.
I was always afraid of living and dying alone.
I guess there are many like me.

Years from now they will find us
and probably write stories
about how we loved each other even in death.
As they look at our almost ruined and almost saved faces
they won’t know how we died heartbroken,
how we held onto each other
but never dared to look at each other
or ask the names we had started to hate.
How our skins melted into each other only because
we had nowhere else to be.
That even as light broke free from our eyes
we didn’t want to look like failure.

“Born Like This” – Nayana Nair

“i was born like this”, I lie,
when I really want to say

“the normal ones, the sane ones
are surprisingly excellent at
breaking anyone without any guilt whatsoever.

i no longer have strength
to leave them, or beg them,
or handle the repercussion of wanting them.

i fear them only when i cry
though i am not exactly sure why it should be so.

the positivity, the kindness, the unity, the charity, the world peace
that they talk about
looks so beautiful when put in action
for example,
there are holes in me though i have never seen a bullet in my life
and i am not allowed to say it is their doing
“it is a result of my negative thinking and bad karma” i parrot
like i have been taught to.

this burnt skin, this distrustful heart,
the layers of clothes that are prerequisite of proving my modesty
if god-forbid i let loose an animal in someone just because i exist,
the logs of missed calls and blocked calls and blocked memories
that are the only things protecting me now.
this is how i was born.

Though absurd, it sounds like truth the more I say it.
This is how I hurt whatever is left of my heart.

“Bland” – Nayana Nair

I heard her again complain about warm hands.
A hand that remains warm, always warm,
so warm that it almost becomes a fault, a flaw.
That it turns into blame, into words that make no sense-
“I could have loved him if he was not so good.
Good is suspicious. Good is bland.
Good is you when you try to be something you are not.
He cannot know my heart, if he cannot be human enough to sin”, she said.
I wonder why I never met them – the bland people
who would be good for my heart, whom I seek in every hand I touch.
Maybe I confused grand gestures, big promises, passionate gaze
for goodness too many times.
I wonder if it is just my weakness, my weariness
that now wants someone harmless to live along with.

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