“Listen and Obey and Lie and Pretend” – Nayana Nair

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Old dreams,
the old warm sweaters of dreams-
today is the day for burning them.
Someone hands me a matchstick,
hands me the common sense
of creating necessary ends.
And like the more faithful student I am
I listen and obey
and pour the flame on the fishes that are still caught
in the net of my dreams.
I pour the flame on the neck, on the wings
of the deity that sleeps in me.
And like the betrayer that I am
I clap and smile with ones who hold my hand,
the ones I must pacify, the ones I must give in to.
But I breathe in again the seeds of wishful thinking.
The air is filled with them-
with the tiny rebellions, with the stolen chances,
with all that isn’t but threatens everything that is.
The air is filled with hope, with freedom,
with everything beautiful and dangerous.
I smile knowing the demons I have set free.

“I let him drive” – Nayana Nair

I roll down my window
hoping for the first time
that I knew how to drive
so that I wouldn’t have a confused witness
to my impulse of moving forward by a mile
and falling down by a heartbeat.

“Is everything alright?”,
he asks me too often.
I don’t bother to calm him down by saying ‘yes’
as I was doing an hour ago.
Nothing I say can now convince him of my normality.
So I let him drive and let myself collapse.
I bury my face in my lap
and breathe better by suffocating myself a little bit more.

He hums a song that reminds me of the love
that now lives in a country I have not seen
in a life that I will always guess inaccurately
with a girl who has a serious case of klemptomania.
Last time I called the stolen one,
I was given a sorry and an address of a better therapist.

I let my ring burn my heart.
I ask the driver to leave me somewhere no one can find me
knowing he will not, he will take me home
just like he doesn’t everyday,
and he will make sure to greet me
with a kind forgetfulness the next morning.

I wish I had kept more strangers like him in my life,
someone who would worry about me.