Nina Li Coomes: #NotTrump Series

Customs Confessional

Forgive me Fatherfor I have sinned
It has been two weeks since my last migration

Forgive me for I have not declared the pickled plums in our bag
AndI used my phone in line

Forgive me I touched a farm animal but I won’t tell you
for I have no Foot and Mouth disease

Forgive me your khaki vestment,  your Beverly accent,
your meaty grip on entry stamp

Forgive me the cold coffee,
the skin of powdered donut glued to your lip

Forgive me the failed Police Academy,
the second place TSA appointment

Forgive me the passports,
three are cool blue but one is a pitted ember I am entrusting to you

Forgive me I am square up against the glass of your confessional
answering every question in morse

Forgive me the percussion in my index
as it kisses the finger-printer: good-bye-hello-good-bye

Forgive me I did not stand still for the photo,
I became a ghost, or prayed to one

As absolution, I will kneel in the baggage claim
A hymn of hyperventilation scattering my tongue

Say ten Hail Mothers and Glory Be
The cold tile of the O’Hare Arrivals Lobby,

the stale smell of a 90s era McDonalds,
the retreating kneeler of my contraband mother

as she heads for the exit, pushing our baggage,
smuggled safe, once more.                                           


Nina Li Coomes is a Japanese and American writer, living in Boston. Her work can be found in tap lit mag, the alice blue review, Blue Stem Journal and elsewhere. Her chapbook, 'haircut poems', is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in autumn of 2017.