interior banner image

A Poem by Lisa Summe

A Poem by Lisa Summe

Author: Poetry Editor

June 28, 2016

This week, a poem by Lisa Summe.




When I walk into church
my hands fold automatically.
There is a certain intimacy
you can have with yourself
just by touching your own hands.
When I finally understood
worship, I understood worship.
It became tangible. It was soft and easy.
It became bodies. There is something reverent
about being on your knees and so I will
always pull a girl closer to my face
by her thighs. I will always think
this is the right thing. I am happy.
I am always here by accident.
A wedding. A funeral.
When I told my father I love
women, he gave me a catechism,
told me god loves the sinner,
but not the sin
. When my best friend
got married, I gave her a high five
as she walked down the aisle
and out the back of the church
with her new husband. Which is to say
our hands touched. Love
can be anything you want it to be.
At my grandfather’s visitation,
I traced my fingers along the veins
of his hands to keep from crying,
traced my memory to his backyard,
the swing set, where, as a kid,
I asked god to please make me
into a boy so that I could marry
Lindsay. Some people go to church
because they’re sorry. I am always
here by accident. Some people get on
their knees when they apologize, push
their hands together in hopes
of forgiveness. I am on my knees
and this is no apology. I am
on my knees and my hands are full.


LISA SUMME was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and is a recent graduate of Virginia Tech’s MFA program. She works as Associate Editor of Toad, Senior Editorial Assistant of The Cincinnati Review, and is also a WebTeam intern for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Tampa Review, Smartish Pace, Salt Hill, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Follow her on Twitter @lisasumme.

Poetry Editor photo

About: Poetry Editor

Lambda Literary's Poetry Spotlight is currently closed for submissions.

Subscribe to our newsletter