“a piece of writing…that should have been me, but is not” – Nayana Nair

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I look out of windows of places that I want to escape
and only after 24 hours, only after 12 years
in a poem about crows, in an essay about public school,
in a story, in a ruin not mine
do I find the space to figure out, to sketch
what I would have thought of, if I allowed myself to think.
If I allowed myself to feel, what I would have loved,
what I would have gladly run away from.
The lives that I couldn’t start, the roles I couldn’t end
they leave my skin and become the masks they always were.
I carefully place these masks
on the words that have nothing to do with me
My words
they only hold the mould
that were too painful for me to confirm to or accept.

“Saving only December” – Nayana Nair

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All the spring’s color
have been molten and poured
into the broken casts of summer.
They seep into ground, into autumn leaves
that falls in every space between you and me.
They sing something for us again
as we shiver and stop ourselves from giving in,
as you hold back from saying every word
that can fix me (at least for now).
I google how to kill feelings
that don’t let me eat or speak or smile.
I bite my lips trying to bury the words
that would shine in your colors, if you were to look at me.
If you were to look at me, you would be only sad
to know how unchangeable my heart is.

You tear sheet after sheet, rip them out of calendar
and hand them to me.
We burn 11 months, saving only December, because you never know.
There is a knock on our door, someone who is lost
brings in the chilled wind, the fine dust of snow,
and voices celebrating something we will never understand.
I wait for you to come back and settle into you warm sleep.
I sit at the foot of the sofa, and think about
the one time I dreamt of death.
I was looking out of window waiting for you
and you came back with new pair of eyes that never settled on me,
and when I was almost about to cry
you moved towards me with a dying sparrow in your trembling hands.
It lay on its side with its soft violent gasp for breath
that were perfectly in sync with mine.

“Half of my Winters” – Nayana Nair

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I wanted to play this winter song
on the brightest day of spring.
Maybe at least in that way
I will be able to mourn for something
that I should have been happy to leave behind.
But the snowflakes in me
drift into the world
and become butterflies of someone else’s heart.
All my songs now belong to sun,
they belong to scent of summer fruits,
they fall as unpredicted rain
on the windows I closed just in time.
Anyway, I had to learn this sooner or later.
How can I keep believing in my own feelings,
on the things that were supposed to never change, never melt
after losing half of my winters to the green winds of change.
As I place all my “old dreams that don’t suit the new me”
away from my reach,
I wonder if the only way to save the dignity of my old sincerity
is to lock it way from my own skeptical, mocking eyes?

“Painting Summer” – Nayana Nair

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As my teacher with broken voice
dictated another question on radius and heights
and the mountains where no snow, no season, no name sticks;
I turned another page and wrote the name of an emperor
who died even though he believed he won’t.
I smiled and tried to correct the very very wrong spelling
of a national political party that my friend wrote. It doesn’t matter she said,
when I couldn’t figure out what was exactly wrong with it.
At lunch, she leaned against the wrong window,
the one with fresh coat of blue paint,
and told me a joke which she memorized
only to remember it wrong.
I again gave her the laugh that meant nothing in particular.
But I knew she loved it when I reacted like this-
as if she is forcing a laughter out of my silent sombre heart,
as if she is wining over me all my resistance.
But I was nothing like that.
I was nothing like she thought me to be.
My heart was already open. She was already inside me-
writing melodies with her soft steps beside me,
painting summer sun over every window I looked out of.
But these are things that need no telling,
there are my treasures I won’t allow her to take back,
these are the answer she will never realize.
I hand in another assignment, another answer sheet
that looks too little like me, that raises the eyebrows of people
who realize they couldn’t teach me a thing right.
I walk back to my seat wondering
if my shirt is tainted red with my love
like her back is filled with butterflies of blue.

“How do you want to be saved?” – Nayana Nair

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I crawled to the window
in my dress torn by the claws and cries
of people who live in my nightmares.
They like clean living rooms, dark courtyards,
and cars with slashed tires sitting in their garage.
They have
“broken hearts” written down in forms as their identity
and broken chandeliers swept under their bed.
They crouch down and look at me
as the broken lights shine red,
as I see myself bleed beautiful rivers,
as my silent scream become winds, become ripples,
becomes the face that will forever make me cry.
They smile and ask me
“What do you wish? How do you want to be saved?”
while someone else burns the bed that I am crushed under
and asks me “Is this the what the warmth felt like in your mind?”
They drag me out into a forest,
where under the brightest tree of hope,
they stuff darkness into my throat, into my mind
and ask me “Do you still feel empty?”
They are unreal and of unsound mind.
They tell me living in me makes them so.
They wave goodbye to me with a smile,
offering me a sweet candy
for my silence and understanding
It is raining when I open my eyes.
I breathe in the world
where bleeding and burning is irreversible,
where it would lead to an end of some kind.
I crawl to the window
in my torn dress and my exhausted skin
and find myself staring
at people who used live in my nightmares,
people who look more real that the living me.
People who now own more than just my dreams.

“Invisible with every word” – Nayana Nair

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The last stranger at the funeral home
brought in the worst rain of the season,
the coldest wind of the night
along with your last letter.
He leaned against the window
and called up everyone he won’t be able to meet today
looking at me all the while.
As if he knew every word that I was reading.
Probably waiting
to see whether I cry at the same lines that he did.
His eyes look like the ones who have got used
to crying for things that cannot be undone,
for a life that cannot be.
I wondered if he loved you. Maybe he did.
Maybe you knew. I hope you did.
He sat beside me
trying not to grieve more than a mother,
trying not mourn like a lover,
making himself invisible with every word
i read under my tearful breath

“…even when I sat at the dinner table with my brightest smile and deepest hunger, i couldn’t convince me that i needed to exist here.
even the warmest embrace of this world could do nothing but break me. i knew opening my heart could only bring floods and all ends of all kind.
i knew all along of this end. forgive me for pretending otherwise….”

“Winter on my cheek” – Nayana Nair

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He lived in the cracks
of the window I could never close.
The sun and the wind, the winter on my cheeks
were all him.
It was a reminder of the mornings
when he held the hands of his softer feelings,
when he silently took the path to brokenness
and named that day after me.
It was the reminder of his kiss
that would make me look away, make me look awkward,
make me do everything almost wrong but with innocence-
everything that made him smile.
I would step on his shadow
and before I apologized, he would step on mine.
He would call it dancing
cause there was no better word for that.
I would smile back forgetting myself

It was a beautiful word.
It was a moment that answered the question
that I never knew how to ask.

“Staying awake, staying alert” – Nayana Nair

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The glass window creaks
under the weight of my head.
I wonder if I should sleep.
Not that it is in my hands. I wish it was .
But then I am afraid
of wishing for anything
that I might not be able to bear-

like her face alive in my dreams,

like seeing myself with a smile
that I can never wear again,

like wanting to smile again
even when I do not want to want such things.

Even when I stay awake, stay alert
to the turning and tossing of my heart
even when I stay glued to the place I had in her heart,
I feel that time is dragging me away
from everything that is painfully comfortable and familiar and lost.

I feel the world trying to rush back into me.
I feel I might lose her too soon, too easily.
I fear there is only so much that my heart can take.
I fear that I will find the peace that I do not want to feel
at the other end of this suffering.

“the constant part of love” – Nayana Nair

i remember your hands and their warmth
like i remember
the versions of me
that were easier to live with (or so i think).
the colors, their unnatural brightness,
the scent of acetone always lingering
on the tips of your fingertips,
always hiding a sad rainbow (just my type).
always a star that you forgot to rub and break,
shined on your skin.
under my lips, they shined brighter than my world.
i swam to them as they stood in a world of darkness
in the shapes of you and me.
it is so odd
that in my constantly breaking and building and growing
brain and its images and meaning-
everything about you meant love.
i loved your flower hairpins and fake bullets
and the magazines of the the people you would rather be
and the window you glanced out of when didn’t want to look at me
and your back against mine.
it is odd
that i could love you so
even when i didn’t know why?

“Audience” – Nayana Nair

the most beautiful
bitter bits
of this world
belong to me now.

a car rushes by far away
and i wonder about
the girl crying her eyes out
on the table not far from mine,
or the middle-aged man looking lost
in front of his home in my window,
or the woman who left her phone and purse
on her table on purpose
and turned back at the door to look at something
i couldn’t see.

i wonder if they feel the same as me,
if i would ever feel anything brand new,
if i would ever have a feeling
not felt by anyone in this world.
even when i know how ordinary
my extra-ordinary pain is, why does it feel so deep,
why do i struggle to walk on these crowded roads
why can’t i wear my sadness, my tears on my eyes
and let this world be the audience for once.