“The Light of White Tulips” – Nayana Nair

.

From the lowest branch
of the falling tree
I looked up
and heard someone laugh.

I have been reborn thousand times after that
but still
as I walk on the charcoal roads
lined with white tulips
that never light up,
as my foot slips
I hear that laugh again.

I hear it
when I cook food
and end up staring a bit too long at the flame,
when the smoke that kills, coats everything
that fills my stomach.

It is stuck in my heart, the violence of the end.
The bluest sky, the sweetest wind,
the flying songs, and my muffled cries-
crystallized as one.
One tiny map, that tells no directions,
forever stuck in the corner of my eye.

It plays like a record, plays hide and seek.
It is a play that ends
with the stories breaking into me.

“Millimeters” – Nayana Nair

.

I folded her note and placed it carefully in my wallet. And I smiled. I told her something I do not remember now. It was something sweet, something weird, because that was the only sort of thing that could make her smile like that.

I folded her smile and placed it carefully in my wallet. And I smiled for a bit. I smiled till I saw the crease that now divided her in half. Trying to ignore the apparition of her breaking, trying to ignore my guilty heart, I gave her few words to smile about. She smiled as if she knew nothing. She smiled as if she knew everything that could ever be hidden in my heart.

I folded her forgiveness and placed it in my wallet. I smiled apologetically. She smiled back as if this is what love was. I recited to her all her favorite promises, probably to soothe my own heart.

I folded another note of forgiveness, and another, and another. The thickness of my wallet and her cracks increased by millimeters, they always walked hand in hand, unlike us. I bought her new flowers and she bought me new wallets. With a smile she told me something untrue about us, something that she could believe in. Maybe she waited for me to tell her something true for once.

But I folded every truth about us and hid it in the memories we won’t find our way back to. And just when I thought nothing can go wrong. I realized that I had also left her at that place where I was not allowed to live. She stared out and smiled from the warm rooms of love, far away from my unlovable heart.

“That poem doesn’t exist in this world” – Nayana Nair

Outside my body, outside myself
I feel
I can be the the girl
who walks to a stranger, smiles and asks his name,
who keeps her name in her mouth,
and doesn’t throw it away
along with the chewing gum in the nearest trash can.

Would she hold his hand?
I think she would.
But even then
would she be reminded of the the poem she wrote in seventh grade
the ugliness of people dripping from their hands
at nights, holding my breath,
crushing my 27 teeth under an unwanted kiss,
promising to kill me next time
“.
Probably not.
That poem doesn’t exist in this world,
let’s keep reminding ourselves that.

So yes, she holds this stranger
a bit more closer than she would have deemed wise
if she saw it how I would
and she would make promises- the kind lovers makes
before they know what love is.
He will ask about her life
and she will have no sad story to tell.
So she would talk about the recent window shopping-
the things she can’t have and things she can’t get
and she will not be talking in metaphors for once.

For once the one she wants to love
wouldn’t be obsessed with the wounds on her skin
to love, to treasure, to poke, to mock, to dig down further,
to own and to burn.
He will probably say something sweet about her smile
or maybe something boring about his work
and she would smile a bit more in either case.
Because she can smile here, in this world, in front of him,
without having to think about what his each word might hide,
what she is over-looking, what will be the tiny details
that will come back to hurt her, what will be the undoing of her heart.
She will smile cause she won’t have learned to be hate people beforehand,
she wouldn’t have learned to love a bit too late.

She would tell him that he is lovely,
and the blush in his cheeks will make her heart skip
and she would love him for loving him
and not because she is looking for an easy fix to her faltering mind.

“Unreal” – Nayana Nair

I sat among friends
and smiled when they took your name
and placed it carefully beside mine.

I laughed, had another drink,
looked away, hiding in myself
holding dearly
the part of you beating in me.

As I negated every joke
made at our expense,
knowing how silly it all was.
I realized, this – our ridiculously sweet love,
our hearts filling and overflowing
with a happiness so unreal,
how I feared losing it all.

“Random Radio” – Nayana Nair

Don’t tell me of your love.
Tell me you’ll leave tomorrow
and stay a day more.
Move an inch closer
when I take your name.
Let me not believe you sometimes
and smile when I do.
I don’t want love,
but I will try to want it,
if you try to want me slowly and cautiously.
When you put on that random radio station
let me stare at you as you dance,
breathe as if I am not here,
let me see who you are without this want for me.
Smile when you catch my eye
and kiss me if I smile back.

“Before Alphabets” – Nayana Nair

Before knowing the alphabets
of your name or mine,
I learnt to make you smile.
I pluck another flower that makes me sneeze every time
but the silly pathetic me smiles as you smile
as I crawl to you
losing balance,
losing something similar to heart,
as I dress you up in a mountain of petals I clenched too hard
hoping you would never move away from me.
How you dozed off as I made myself sick with my ambition.
How you were still sleeping as your mother took you in arms
brushing away every piece of my care.
But it is better than the days I woke up
with only the traces of my feelings, my cradle of flowers
without you in it.

“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.

“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.

“Unlike me” – Nayana Nair

Sometimes I fear you –
the way you can make me want to change,
the way you make me act unlike myself.
I doubt that maybe I am too easily convinced
and too easily affected by your existence.

I wonder
my effort to become someone you deserve
how is it different from the insincerity
that I have always shown to this world.

When I grow tired of this act
I might end up making you the excuse,
might call you the liquor that I regret giving control to.
I am already finding it easy to resent you
for everything I do wrong.

“You have changed my life”-
is the sweetest sad thing that I never want to say.

“you know where you have hidden your light” – Nayana Nair

have you come to find the life, the hand
that lit every eye that you have come across?

you can sit here and look at me for your whole life
but you won’t forget the one whom you cannot face.

she had a sweeter heart than mine, i can guess.
every lover in their best moment were as lovely as this mother earth.

i won’t compete, i won’t love you better.
tell me the parts of you that she lit, i will let them burn you away.

i won’t talk like her, i won’t tell you i understand.
so hold my hand and miss her as much as you can.

in my lacking, see her face.
take the name you have been dreading to approach.

confess your love to the one you have lost.
make peace with the part of you that won’t let her memory rest.

divinity only takes away things that you treasure.
so, remembering is the only easy way to forget.