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“All the boxes are checked” – Nayana Nair

It hurts a bit more naturally
and less violently,
now that betrayal has a range,
has not one but many faces.
Now I need not figure what I did wrong.

All the boxes are checked:

family, family, friends, not friends,
thank-god-we-were-never-friends friends,
i-am-sad-i-stood-up-for-you friends,
people who marked my skin with their name
to own me
while i slept in their arms
(another golden cup added to collection of people hard to get,
people who won’t die if thrown away or left alone)
loves whom i am tied to,
the ones who demand smile and sometimes a bit more,
always a bit more.

They know the feel of my hand and love how it heals.
They hold my hand in their sleep
in their nightmares, in the storms of passion
that they need a person to aim at.
They break my wrist
in my nighmares, in my awareness of my fruitless love.
When I am at verge of crying,
they tell me to not give them a hard time
and to act like the refuge that I am supposed to be.

So I tell them “I love you”
and this lie hurts a little less everyday
as my heart becomes the stone pedestal
all my loves stand on.

“Our Game” – Nayana Nair

if i could understand you somehow
i am sure my feelings would make sense

something in you is at odds with you
something in you makes me hate you

but as you pretend that you are stronger than your monster
i pretend that my love is bigger than any wrong that you can do to me

that’s our game
that’s our love

i pretend even when i hold you through your nightmares
i pretend even when i realize i am weaker than my love

for when you take my name in between the storm of your sobs
i realize i can keep walking to you

through my own breakdown
through everything

i can keep walking towards you
as long as you take my name

“Sandstorm” – Nayana Nair

The sandstorm is just another setting
for this story to continue.
There are no trees in our desert
that could be broken.
There are only lights that learn to flicker,
there is only skin that knows what this wind carries,
there are only roads that will drown.

With half closed eyes you walk out
to search for what you have left behind.
With half closed door I wait for you to return.
I find another quote in another book
foretelling the loveless life that will continue henceforth.
Another book, another friend I must burn
for speaking the truth, for wanting my best.

I am destined to die on the night of a full moon
without a reason, without a witness,
with a piece of broken mirror becoming a new part of my body-
another prophesy that I wish you had not gifted me.

Three fairies sleep in our bed,
who do not yet know the violence of your broken heart.
I hope you get what you cry for,
I hope you forget our names,
I hope this storm saves us from every moon, every sky.
I hope this storm saves us from you.

“The wind is picking up” – Nayana Nair

The wind is picking up.
The white sand unlike water
sinks everything too slowly.
And so the shade less trees of eucalyptus
become shadows that I learn to love.
They become compass that knows no direction,
but just piece this world to hold,
the silent assurance
that I am not yet lost, though my eyes can’t tell.

***

The wind is picking up.
In the middle of this small storm,
my careful hands writing the date on black board
suddenly realize the need to be held.
And so I fold and create a crease
on another part of my face-
the part that shows my heart too easily.
Someone yells out my name
and unknowingly they moor me to another violence,
another need that I don’t want to carry in me.

“storm of kindness” – Nayana Nair

i refuse to go out into
the storm of kindness
where well-meaning people
drunk on the idea of charity
are running amok on streets.

they don’t know themselves
but they know my kind,
they know all the kinds of people
i might turn into
if i don’t give up and let them in.

they want to know the name of person
who broke me so well.
they want me to cry a bit
and to try saying hello first.

the seat they sit on, still has my warmth.
i still know the name of strangers i prayed for.
how easily things change.
every life had hope,
every pain could be overcome
as long as they were not mine.

“how storms fade” – Nayana Nair

twenty-six steps away from the cold end,
we stand together as if we are both looking
at a foe we must defeat together.
a child passes us by with a yellow balloon.
how misplaced it seems, this child
in this place made of storms.

this is something i don’t want to do.
our steps will fade into the deep end of this lake
while the mother in me would summon the face of this child
as a hope of what i could have had
if I could endure a little bit more.

an invisible small hand curls around my fingers
as your voice falters and you mess up our last song.
the ghost of your future, whatever face they may have, have also arrived.
so i put back the sweater on
and you check the calls you must return
as the ones who intend to live on only do.

“A Dying Storm” – Nayana Nair

i close all the doors
as if a storm in coming,
as if closed doors can protect me from something so huge,
as if hiding is a better option than fleeing.
‘i wish i had created more places to hide in my life’
i thought this as tried to burn all my best clothes
as if i will freeze to death otherwise
and nothing i wear, no new face i paint on myself
will deflect or reduce the hate in the eyes that look at me.
soon i had nothing to burn,
nothing to destroy.
only resentment against myself,
only a feeling of failure
continued to live in this body
growing each second, trying to push me out.

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