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“Closer to Me” – Nayana Nair

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Now the dark corners
are the only safe place remaining.
The loveless days
are the only memory where we can rest
where we can hide from
all the passion that we wished for,
all the feelings we couldn’t handle.

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You once wrote to me about the night
that hung as a curtain over your window,
about how you can’t gather the courage to see the light
until I came along and tore away those curtains,
broke your shields
so that you could see what lay beyond.
I once took pride in being the one
who destroyed all dark cells within you.

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But I realized too late that you were a flower
who could only bloom in dark,
that shields exist for a reason,
that each step you took towards your fear
thinking it would bring you closer to me
was just the beginning of sacrifices
you made to stay in my world.

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As I lay beside you
trying to undo my harm
trying to teach you how to forget me,
what I regret most is that
when you struggled with what you are
I was only proud of my love that could make you do all that
instead of being seeing your love
that could do what I couldn’t.

“Less Than Half” – Nayana Nair

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The moment I pass any door
a part of my brain whispers-
too many people,
watch you step and watch your tongue,
lest you want to be branded as one of those women
that you are are and aren’t at the same time.
For if you are not careful enough
you will soon believe everything that people say about you
as you are doing right now.
Right now only half of you exist in this body.
I know this because that is what I was calculating
in the class of areas and volumes,
as teacher taught how we determine
the volume the water left at in a cylinder of flesh
once it starts leaking from all the words that have pierced it.
Or that’s what I heard at least.
I got had good score for that class
and I got called many more names.
A little more of me seeped out
and now I am less than half of what I was.
I know this because I have lost my friends
(maybe they see I am no longer me).
I know this because my heart no longer protests
when I hear people calling me by wrong names.

“Buses I Miss” – Nayana Nair

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Going back home is always difficult.
Everything stands in my way-
the weather, the traffic,
the buses I miss by seconds,
the roads under repair,
the detours I must take,
phone calls and thoughts
that come at inopportune time,
my heart, and you.
For as long as you are not where I am going,
as long as you are not home,
I will only have places to sleep or suffer.
Or a place to write about you.
So if my steps halt and my heart slows
when we part for the day,
keep me with you for a second more
for I have nowhere to go.

“Adjust to Red” – Nayana Nair

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It was gruesome
because everyone kept walking,
thinking they can move on and grow up,
only if they stepped over
whatever was left of themselves
to become friends with the faces
that are still drunk and happy
with the taste of their weakness.
It was scary
because it was normal
to be cruel,
not only in hatred, but also in love.
It was unbearable,
till it was not.
Till my eyes adjusted to the red,
till my hand became familiar
with touching all that is dying
or touching only to kill.
Till I learnt to close my eyes
to everthing
I knew
I couldn’t save.

“Slip every time” – Nayana Nair

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There is one step
where I slip every time.
And just because I know now to jump across it,
doesn’t mean it ceased to exist.
It just means I have to keep reminding myself
what to avoid.
Sadly, the trivial betrayals and their deeper hurt
doesn’t reform my trusting heart.
My aloofness is just a way to ensure
that others don’t know of this.

“Worst” – Nayana Nair

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The clock strikes twelve
and his steps return.
My hands move over the bleeding wounds.
My eyes return from the depth of my blues.
I brace myself for the worst
I can do.

“Version” – Nayana Nair

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Sometimes the hatred, the bias that
people around him smoked
sticks to his clothes, his skin, his tongue
when I come near him.
He can wash it from himself with a sleep.
He can leave it at the door, when he steps in.
But I can’t wash it out of my mind.

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In my mind
I mix up the person he is and the person he has to be.
But I realise that I do not know the person he is,
I only know the person he has to be for me,
I only resent the person he has to be for others.

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The person he is, looks at me from his corner of eyes
and this stranger looks at me
not across oceans, not across roads of fate,
but across the versions of us filling up the space between us,
the versions we can never throw away.

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This stranger looks at me and gives me the smile
that he has to wear for me.
For me to realise the love I have for the the days
I share with this person who spends his days with me,
loses his ways with me and grows old with me.
I smile back becoming the person I have to be for him,
becoming the version I love the most.

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