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“could-have-beens” – Nayana Nair

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when saw my skin, i saw only cracks
cracks that would have looked worse
if i could see better.
i wanted to look away
but all i could do was think-
age is creeping up on me
slowly and cruelly
and you are not here.

i think of all the things
i can never have now.
things i meant to do everyday
things i put off, delayed
because you needed time.
all the things i denied myself
because i wanted to wait for you.

but the weight of things i have given up
seems to have increased exponentially
since you learnt to change your mind.

so me and my could-have-beens
we sit at different tables in the same world,
looking at each other with disappointment.
how ridiculous is this
that i am waiting,
even when there is no one to wait for,
even when i know that running away
was the only thing you could be relied upon for.

“the giants continue to live in my dreams” – Nayana Nair

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Across the street
lived the giants.
The green giants-
who waited for rains to cry,
who waited for the night to speak.

Thankfully the windows
in my temporary home
were small and few.
Thankfully it was always cold,
that awful cold
that makes you want to sleep
for a long long time.

So I slept and slept.
I ate whatever my mother cooked.
I waited for her to tell me
what I am to do with my life.
While the kids I never spoke to,
went into the home of giants
to put them on fire,
I slept.
I slept and cried in my dreams.
Because tears on my real skin
would make this sadness more real.
Real sadness demands reasons and explanation.
Real sadness demands proofs.

I slept
to dream,
to stand among them-
the ones who have learnt
how to live and die quietly,
to forgive easily.
I waited for the day
I would grow roots,
the day when I could smile
at my falling leaves.
I waited for the day
I could become one of them
and not the cruel outsider that I am now.

“All your cold dark songs” – Nayana Nair

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as i get inside the crowded bus,
a phone rings.
a ringtone just like yours.

has the world shrunk to the size
of the tragedy we created,
that i find you like this?

i know it is not you,
but it could be.
so i do not turn back.
it could be you,
so i try not to cry.

this is not where
walking away or breaking clean
should lead to.
at least not back to you.
at least not like this.
not on the day i finally felt
that i could move toward a new happiness.

why did you come back?
to tell me how i am not worthy of anything good?
to tell me no one can love something like me?
to tell me how thinking is unhealthy for love like ours?
to check if my skin remembers your anger?
to tell me to speak softly, to submit to your wishes
if i wish to be forgiven for your mistakes?

why did you come back,
when you don’t even want me?

“bedtime stories of what you used to be” – Nayana Nair

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Even as I want to cut out your stories from my skin,
even as I want to walk away from what you will always be,
I end up recalling all the time
you tried to be better than what you are.
When without any calculations,
without the thought of consequences,
without even knowing it yourself
you placed my broken body in your heart
and tried to do anything,
say anything that could make me feel better.
How sincere your words felt to me,
you’d never know.
And that’s why I stay
so that you may know
how you have held me together with your love.

Now that you are breaking,
now that your cracks are the only things I see,
now when I feel nothing like love for you,
I want to be better than what I am.
So even though I feel like crying every time I see you like this
and feel wronged by this life from time to time.
But it seems you are the one thing in my life
that I cannot run away from, even when I want to.

“Stack of Books from Strangers” – Nayana Nair

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Now everything tastes like my oft-repeated past.
This bitter turn of events
has brought new meaning to my pain that I didn’t ask for.
This morning I even look like someone who needs help.

I guess I may have looked that way for a long time
in everyone’s eyes but mine.
In my eyes, I was doing better,
good enough to be not noticed and singled out.

I smiled enough to keep people from seeing
all the mess I carried in me.
But lately, strangers hand me books
to keep my sad mind busy.

Books that tell me
that it is not too late, that one at a time
I can make something out of the soil that won’t leave my skin,
the soil that I am buried under.

I want to believe in this nonsense more than anyone can imagine.
But my heart is not the same now
as it was years ago.
It no longer believes the words that feel good and hurt later.

“What I Remember (15)” – Nayana Nair

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I think of the clothes that are too tight or too loose for me,
of my skin that doesn’t like me the way it used to.
How the mirrors in my home are hidden
by the growing towers of books.
I wonder what this says about me?
I think of the fear that I feel when I am alone,
the fear that I feel when I walk into happiness.
I think of the kinds of fear that fill my heart.
I count them for a long time
but nothing happens when I finish counting.
I wonder if knowing myself
is really the first step to solving my life.
Do I want anything to be solved?
I count the people that who no longer speak to me
and half way through I remember
that it was me who had thrown them away first.
Silence is my weapon, not theirs.
I realize I need to always hold a grudge against someone
to live with strength.
I wonder when this strength became so important to me.
I wonder when this love that felt like a lemonade in summer
actually became a commercialized product
with an expiry date stamped on it
before it even reaches our hands.
I think of my skin by which I am stuck to a world like this.
I wonder why I pretend to be better than this world by saying such stuff?
Why am I so into acting all deep and philosophical?
I wonder why I love to call myself broken even though I hate to be seen so?
Don’t misunderstand me.
I do not want answers.
Answers are painful and pointless,
answers are a tasteless end
to the struggle that otherwise makes my heart bleed colors.

“Sweet Nothings” – Nayana Nair

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i crawl into another embrace,
scratch the surface of my fake love
to find something true.
hopes.
hopes.
is this what they call hope?
it must be.

the coffee turns cold as my story ends.
again i am wearing a skin i have stolen.
the one breathing beside me
has a knack for sad stories recited by happy girls,
of being a knight to one he doesn’t have to save.

me,
i love drowning the world in sadness
(the only way i can take anyone’s breath away)
i love leaving loose ends,
leaving people behind-
i call it the fear of being left behind.
i have a list of similar innocent motivation
for every mess i make, for the mess i have become.

when he leaves
i throw away the coffee he never drinks.
i get over my urge to be seen for what i am.
i dip my fingers into another color
that he might like, or at least remember.

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