Gayatri Nair

Gayatri Nair is an Indian-Australian writer, poet and DJ based on the land of the Wangal people of the Eora nation in Sydney’s inner west. She is a member of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement, has qualifications in Law and Arts, and is working in human rights policy, research and advocacy. She is passionate about pride in cultural identity and using art to affect change. Gayatri has been published in Sweatshop Women Volumes 1 and 2, Red Room Poetry, Mascara Literary Review, The Guardian and Swampland Magazine.



Last night you saved my life
There was a fire in the building
and I would have slept through it
But you woke me up and we survived

Earlier that day we had seen the impossible
The unbelievable
Whales breaching out past the rocks
An island which I later looked up, called ‘Rangoon’
‘How racist’ I said, the old term for Yangon
A place I once had a visa to but had never been

And we wouldn’t have seen the whales
But for a lone woman on the beach
who told us to look
No phones no cameras,
nothing to capture it
So I’m writing it down now

You said this is where we would consummate our love
And I said ‘yuck isn’t that like about marriage,’
and ownership of a woman through making an heir

But this morning I googled consummate love
it said it was ‘the complete form of love, representing an ideal relationship which people strive towards… it is the ideal kind of relationship’

I can’t stop laughing at the way
you carried the car keys above your head
swimming with one hand raised through the estuary to the beach
Twice people stopped to ask if you were ok

And I wonder if we can ever go back there?
Like an ending in a Satyajit Ray film
But I don’t think I have a visa to that country anymore.