n i n a    l i    c o o m e s



'the last time you took an airplane'

eve to her maker; in defense of hunger

‘the last time you took an airplane’


at its widest, the pacific ocean stretches roughly 12,000 miles
deriving its name from the french word ‘pacifique’ uttered first,
allegedly, by Magellan, who found its waters peaceful, pacifique Magellan
dies in 1521, crushed in the philippine philistine fist of this tranquil titan
obituary penned in salt water, like an ill fitting name
the waves of her water flood black with blood-salt and bloated
tuna-belly orange rinds the crossing is thirteen hours,
780 minutes to realize that i have measured my life in this
migration like monarch butterflies flocking to sapphire
tipped canyon edges i become the back and forth gravitation
of a moon bounced between foaming crests if you were
to shave a cross section of me maybe there are rings
nicked with each trip, a perforation for each gate, each
awning to bow my knees over never step on the raised
door-edge it is bad luck child the last time i found myself
in this 43 thousand second polyester cocoon garrisoned like
a coffin bearer without the right shoes for the mud that
morning, heavy handed i carry the memory of you like daisies
like black-eyed susans, all frail stemmed and wilting i clench
the funeral of you through security through customs through the
elephant trudge to find seat 32 D i handle you like a breaking vase
in my quilted whimper i hum your name over the roar of take-off
engine, i hold you so tightly my knuckles turn milk frost we are
over canada, alaska, we are screeching to the edge of land and into
her reaches, her india-ink sleeves dripping with obsidian, i am over
laying your face with every thing i have had to give up at her border
every good bye every hello every word learned and now lost but
you are too heavy for me, you are too whole and soul and now
it is thirteen hours of letting you go, it is thirteen hours of laborious
alchemy, transmute you from urn to wedding processional to
relearn you from ash, as rose petal,
they say magellan knew
peace in this untouchable expanse of blue,
they say he died
in this peace
that they would say this
about us, then.


eve to her maker; in defense of hunger


no one  ever tells you what a body looks like
i, who, have only known the skim of your fingers
lily padding across my breast the molten mold
of palm to hip you made me rib-to-rib 
graphing me on bone-axis this body borne
of need interlaced independent : dependent
 on this linear language of longing

this long, 
 you made me think
i looked like something to hold on to
all red oak & handle 
all butter leather & panel
how could you know? 
how could you know what it feels like to have the
wind whistle  a jagged tune
through the interwoven winter branches
of me? you, who have never tasted the sweet
 cradle of a serpentine apology?
you, who have been full from the swollen
beginning of time, satiated and sentient, 

i've seen it

             ----how i am naked

broken bruise of a
i have felt
the uneven earth spread
clod across cower

             my beloved
             would you have told me
             the lie 
             in your hands?
             would you have admitted
             the falsehood 
                          in your lips?

(the first thing i noticed
in this new nudity
this graceless guise
the rice paper between us
it made sense
you were
you always seemed
i knew now
is how we are
separate. )


NINA LI COOMES is a poet and blogger in the city of Chicago. She is the 2012 LTAB College Indie Slam champion, co-founder of University of Chicago’s Catcher In The Rhyme, and the creator of poetic lifestyle blog www.opaquerie.com. Most recently, she was a member of the Wort.Word.Licht poetry tour of Germany as sponsored by the US Embassy. In her spare time, she plays the piano and runs too much.

I S S N     1 5 5 9 - 6 5 6 7