Nina Coomes

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Nina Li Coomes is a Japanese and American writer, currently living in Boston, MA. Her writing has appeared in EATER, The  Collapsar, and  RHINO Poetry among other places. Her debut chapbook haircut poems was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2017.


Cover Photo: A painting of Esther interceding before King  Ahasuerus
On Esther’s Vengeance and the Beauty of Women’s Rage

Esther, you are a queen not because of your physical perfection, but because of the horror and rage you transformed it into.

Sep 19, 2019
Cover Photo: In Immigrating from Japan, I Lost Language, Home, and Pokémon by Nina Coomes
In Immigrating from Japan, I Lost Language, Home, and Pokémon

Maybe, I thought, I could play Pokémon with my peers and bridge the gap between me and my an all-white classroom. But we lose things in translation.

Aug 28, 2019
Cover Photo: Photograph by Siora Photography/Unsplash
I Wanted to Get Married, But I Wasn’t Ready to Lose Myself

While Ruth’s words— “where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay”—made for a heart-stilling pseudomarital vow, I was not selfless enough to promise the same.

Aug 15, 2019
Cover Photo: Detail from Pierre Jean van der Ouderaa's "The Temptation of Eve"
On Eve’s Temptation and the Monsters We Make of Hungry Women

There is a part of me, even after so many iterations of faith and years of living in an adult body, that is waiting for punishment, waiting to be banished from the Garden.

Jul 15, 2019
Cover Photo: photo by Edson Chilundo/flickr
ハーフ (Hafu): On the Fetishization and Mistranslation of a Biracial Identity

Hafu carries insinuations of otherness; of not belonging, but being fetishized. How do I carry this name and this history at once?

Jul 16, 2018
Cover Photo: the author and her sister in 2015
温もり (Nukumori): When the Distance Between You and Your Loved Ones Disappears

Nukumori can refer to a kind of existence not dependent on physical proximity, allowing a person’s presence to linger with you even if they cannot.

Jun 06, 2018
Cover Photo: photo by 紀念你離開的那個夏日 ’ マンダク / flickr
憂鬱 (Yuutsu): When Mental Health Is Mistranslated

How could I navigate my Japanese-language emotions in pursuit of a Western psychiatric label?

Apr 30, 2018
Cover Photo: photo of Tanabata tanzaku by Kumiko/wikimedia
愛してる (Aishiteru): How to Say “I Love You” When the Language Doesn’t Exist

When he asked me how to say “I love you” in Japanese, I translated linguistically, but mistranslated culturally.

Mar 26, 2018
Cover Photo: photo by kenstein/flickr
切ない (Setsunai): When You Need a Word to Hold Both Sorrow and Joy

‘Setsunai’ implies something once bright, now faded. It is the painful twinge at the edge of a memory, the joy in the knowledge that everything is temporary.

Feb 26, 2018
Cover Photo: photo courtesy of the author
大事 (Daiji): On Living Between Two Cultures and Learning What Is Most Important

To me, ‘daiji’ embodies the struggle to prioritize two languages, homes, and selves.

Jan 22, 2018