I Use My Hands

People buy guns / today someone bought a gun / at the same moment / I got groceries / the same moment / I got off / today I masturbated because I didn’t know / what else to do / because I was alone / in a way that felt / worse than usual / I am clinging to myself / to my self-imposed deadlines / to write / to mop the kitchen / the promises I make to myself / the promises I want to make / to someone else / when my hand / was in my shorts / it felt like everything and nothing / all at once / when I closed my eyes there was nothing / good to think about / the high of the orgasm / hardly worth it / when I remembered / the last person who touched me / the way I love her / the way I miss her / empty nightstand drawer / I have no toys / my exes have them / mostly little things / bullets / I use my hands / for myself / flat bike tire / noisy box fan / leaky dishwasher / things I’ve fixed / things I’ve broken / I am broken / in a way / that all of us are / in a way there’s sort of / not words for / I have touched a real gun exactly / one time / touched it real gentle / like I loved it / and feared it / ran one finger slowly / along the silver barrel / it wasn’t loaded / yet / my ex’s father had a gun collection / he was proud to show me this newest one / whatever kind it was / it laid there on the kitchen table / he died / not from guns / from alcohol / there was fresh deer meat in his freezer / the day his girlfriend found him / dead on the living room floor / I read a poem about a gun / maybe it was a news article / how even the talk / of a gun ban / made people more afraid / how everyone wanted to get their hands / on a gun / before they couldn’t / when my hand was in my shorts / there was so much / I couldn’t touch


Lisa Summe was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and earned a BA and MA in literature at the University of Cincinnati, and an MFA in poetry from Virginia Tech. She is a member of VIDA’s Web Team, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Juked, Smartish Pace, Lambda Literary, Salt Hill, Waxwing, and Bettering American Poetry Vol. 2, among others. Her first full-length book, Say It Hurts, is forthcoming from YesYes Books in summer 2020. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA.