Kavita Nandan

Kavita Ivy Nandan was born in New Delhi, grew up in Suva and migrated to Australia in 1987 after the Fiji military coups. She completed a PhD in Literature on the postcolonial narratives of Salman Rushdie and VS Naipaul at the Australian National University. In 2017, she moved from Canberra to Sydney with her husband, Michael and son, Jesse. Kavita teaches Creative Writing at Macquarie University. She is the author of a book of poems, Return to what Remains (Ginninderra Press, 2022) and a novel, Home after Dark (USP Press, 2014). She is also the editor of a book of memoirs, Stolen Worlds: Fiji-Indian Fragments and co-editor of a book of essays, Unfinished Journeys: India File From Canberra and a book of poetry and short fiction, Writing the Pacific. Her poetry and fiction are published in LiteLitOne, Not Very Quiet, Mindfood, Mascara Literary Review, Transnational Literature, Landfall, The Island Review and Asiatic. She has been a recipient of the artsACT grant three times.


Cartwheels in space

Remember those damn kids
Who did cartwheels on the front lawn
On your strip of earth, in front of your damn house
To show you how damn good they were?
Those sporty-straight-legged girls with golden skin
And you tried too, because you wanted to be like them
Never in front of those deep-blue-Pacific-Ocean eyes of course
But in private
But you never
Could achieve that spinning momentum
Dumped on the back lawn each time
With your legs feeling like two lamb shanks
Your dark hair and skin frizzing in the sun upside down
Experiencing disappointment, like a firecracker that fizzled out.

Today, the latest images from Webb’s telescope
Captured the collision of two galaxies:
A cartwheel galaxy.
And you swore to yourself:
failure is transitory/
miracles do exist.

The perfect weather

A colony of witches’ broom
swept over the sleeping reserve
a trident of coldness that
pried open the mouth with vapours,
set upon the mind, haunting it with unfavourable thoughts,
such as sidewalk paraphernalia – plugs and wires –
getting wet in the rain and
feet sinking in soggy ground;
all of which makes one queasy.
Yet it was the perfect weather
to buy a coffin: black, $1,050, until,
the street lamps flickered off
night transitioned into day, and
the sun came out.