Lisa Summe

Selfie in the Boys’ Department

It’s awkward. Me, a grown woman,
flipping quickly through the boys’
shirts at Gap Kids, fearing any interaction

with any employee, like the blonde woman
behind the counter whose hair is pulled back
in a tight bun, who I imagine is uncomfortably aware,

upon close inspection, that I am not a kid, not a boy,
though definitely too young and/or dykish
to be shopping for my own sons, which is all true,

because in some ways, I am the child,
the little boy I resemble, unable to commit,
even to taking this green plaid shirt

or that navy blazer into the dressing room,
fearing the way my hips and boobs
will inevitably stretch the fabric in places I wish

were smaller, how my tiny waist will fail
to fill out the rest of the shirt, the emptiness
so much deeper than the 50/50 cotton blend

that I will not, unfortunately, stagger awkwardly
up to the register to purchase,
take home with me and immediately Google

various ways to shrink clothing,
iron crisp the collar once my dryer shenanigans
have failed. Instead, my bow ties will hang

side by side in the darkness
across the back bar of my closet, little stars
set against nothing, no sky to be noticed in,

nothing else for me to wish for.

Lisa Summe was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH and is a graduate of Virginia Tech’s MFA program. Her work has appeared in Waxing, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Smartish Pace, and Lambda Literary, among others. She currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA. You can find her at your local vegan bakery or at

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