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“A Dull Reflection of Hope” – Nayana Nair

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In a dull handheld mirror
that had yet to be broken,
I looked at myself
and realized
that someone is dying inside me.

I didn’t know how to accept this,
so I solved every question in my math textbook.
I learned to eat more and sleep late.
Stared at my wrist for hours.
Pretended to sleep fearing questions.
Tried a bit of every sin
and waited around to be damned.

I felt a constant urge to break someone
so this world could be little less happier.
But death claimed my heart
before I could do that.
So now I write “love” on your tongue
without knowing what it means.

“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.

“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.

“Her Words” – Nayana Nair

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He tries to mould his tongue and his lips
so he can speak his words her way,
so he can speak his own name as she used to.

“Sway” – Nayana Nair

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The only word I kept under my tongue
my name – and yet it is dissolving
into the fog where all things are lost.
As the weight of my name slips
from my mouth,
I feel how latching onto anything is
a suffering.
I feel how letting everything go is
also a suffering.
And I keep swaying in the currents of
wanting everything
and wanting nothing.
I am living
but I do not know what to do with this world
or with myself.
I have no answers.
Words do not have much meaning
on the lips of someone
who has been abandoned by every word.

“All the tones”- Nayana Nair

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If I memorized
all the tones that drifted in from
a world of happiness
we are no longer inhabitants of,
the tones that drip ever so slowly
filling our heart with love
and filling our life with pain,
the tone that ripples through
every word I weigh on my tongue.
all the tones
that resonates in me as the wind passes
through the places in my heart
where your laughter once lived,
all the tones
that separate bird cry and bird song.
I think I would find the song we lost,
the song we sought
that we could never hear
in the noise of our shouts.
And though our love is dead
I would like this song
to have a home to rest.
As for our love,
what is lost is probably
lost for best.

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