ARS POETICA

LISA SUMME

i won’t get used to eating / at this little table / across from no one / across from a gray wall / across from a blender and mixing bowls on a shelf / i sit here and look around for a while / before i get any food out / at the clock shaped like ohio / the to-do list / the coat rack / and try to feel proud of something / not my roots / not the way i walk / away / but my bike helmet / hanging there / evidence / i can move my body in a new way / i take risks / sort of / you can die on a bike you know / people text while driving / people leave because they think / there might be something better / my cats meow by now / dinnertime / their hunger so physiological / so unlike mine / sometimes i want a person who does not want me back / sometimes i am the wanted person / mostly i am the person who has everything / but not now / i took that for granted / so much of my life spent / not needing / nothing to hunger for / for so long i have been paired up / with the sunsets of people / blooming roses on the first warm day of people / and when i wreck it / i always wreck it / it’s not a train off the rails / but a train with unseen internal damage / the carbon monoxide detector that doesn’t work / but you only know / when it’s too late / when you’re dead inside / dead literally / train won’t explode but will stop suddenly / will ruin everything / when i’m lonely / i put all this stake in being wanted / like never before / like if i could open me up / look right into my chest / what would i find / besides blood / the sound of metal on metal / heart sometimes untraceable / heart sometimes too big / say i bleed out / what if i said my sins out loud / instead of sitting here with them / heavy in my chest / digging around for them in the mess of  / what if i could be / my own therapist / my own safe space / say it lisa / say what you’ve done / walked away from / given up on / held the face / of everyone you’ve ever kissed / sweet grapefruit of the morning / told the truth / told her everything / say ohio was the last place i was happy / said ohio is the place / i said / over and over / i will never go back to / the blood there means nothing / say i make a life somewhere else / like i have / say i still have you / somehow 

LISA SUMME was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, earned a BA and MA in literature at the University of Cincinnati, and an MFA in poetry from Virginia Tech. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Juked, Smartish Pace, Lambda Literary, Salt Hill, Waxwing, Bettering American Poetry Vol. 2, and elsewhere. Her first full-length book, Say It Hurts, is forthcoming from YesYes Books in summer 2020. You can find her eating vegan donuts in Pittsburgh, PA or online at lisasumme.com / @lisasumme.