Coming Out by Lisa Summe

I drive an hour to your apartment,
having only met you twice, wondering what a girl like you,
25, a Master’s degree, wants to do with me.
I’m 20, been out of my parents’ house a month,
out of the closet a week, and I go to college but don’t know why.

I shook your hand at a party in Cincinnati.
We got drunk on shitty Long Islands and inched our way
back to a bedroom where we made out for hours,
clawed at something muscle-deep in each other
in an effort to rescue whatever is inside us—
part brick and mortar, part electric shock,
whatever should have been holding us
together—kept our clothes on in anticipation
of something that we could cling to, that wasn’t a lie.

We pregame at your place with your friends,
who don’t know you’re into me, think you’re working on it
with Dwight, Halloween-themed drinks
spread across your kitchen counter,
the vodka and fruit punch a little too pink to be violent,
the candy corn martinis little sunrises in our hands.

We catch a ride to a haunted maze,
crammed in the backseat of Jasmine’s Civic,
the collar of your Dracula cape jabbing my jawline,
relieved the crowd necessitates our touching.

In the maze we run off immediately, find the dark space
behind a haystack, a soft white sheet—
someone’s abandoned costume—
which we smooth out in tandem with our breath,
your head on my chest the possibility
of our new hearts as wingspan, as what can only carry,
glide, fly. We touch with the intensity of the strangers we are,
but with the tenderness of reuniting,
as if we’ve missed each other all along.

Lisa Summe
Lisa Summe was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is a graduate of Virginia Tech’s MFA program. She is the Resources Manager for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and a poetry editor for Pittsburgh Poetry Review. Her poems have appeared in The Tampa Review, Smartish Pace, Lambda Literary, Salt Hill, Waxwing, and elsewhere. She currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA.