Selfie with a U-Haul by Lisa Summe

You come to me in a dream,

with a U-Haul [insert lesbian joke],

and so does that waiter from the gyro place on McMillan,

but in the dream the guy is your brother and translator,

and the only way I can talk to you is to talk to him first,

tell him everything I want to say to you,

even though I am close enough to trace

my finger over your hipbone,

to smell your Aussie guava shampoo,

whisper in your ear.

 

You’re moving to Illinois and all I do

in this dream is load up the U-Haul,

a yellow kitchen table, a couch I lift

with no help from the waiter/brother—

but my muscles and man-strength do not impress you,

you proud lesbian—a coffee pot, fourteen pashminas,

a loaf of bread I assume someone you’re fucking made you,

which I set carefully on a plate and in the front seat.

 

There was a time when you wanted me back,

when you called me on the phone

over and over, said come home to me

enough times that I almost listened,

enough times that I’d like to believe

I almost stopped fucking whoever I was fucking then

to run back to you in a full sprint.

Instead I packed you up, literally

stuffed our relationship into a box—

the boarding passes to Orlando and San Francisco,

the Bacardi coasters I kept from a gay club

in Columbus, the letters you signed

I am yours and I love you completely—

and shoved it under my bed.

 

There was a time, years later, when we ended up

at the same bar the night before Thanksgiving.

Another girl on your arm, I could hardly approach you,

could hardly believe that my hair looked good enough

to walk up to you, that I was ever worthy,

and right after I said hi, you stuck your tongue

so far down that girl’s throat that I was the one choking,

coughing up every fantasy I ever had of us ending up together.

 

If I could reenter that dream, you’d say yes

when I suggest we take a lunch break,

go to the gyro restaurant where the waiter

would go back to being a waiter

and serve us falafel. I’d get my tzatziki on the side

and give it to you, like always. If I could

reenter that dream, I’d pay the check

and walk you back to the U-Haul,

but not before I crawled under my bed

to grab the box, dust us off. If I could

reenter that dream, I’d set the box in the back

of the truck so it’d be the first thing you see

when you get to Chicago. If I could

reenter that dream, I wouldn’t wake up

until my phone rang, until it was you.

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.