Kayla Sargeson

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Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade With My Mother

When my mother was pretty
she wore blue Esteé Lauder eyeshadow up to her eyebrows,
smoked Virginia Slim Light MentholsArtwork by Gene McCormick
behind my grandmother’s back,
fucked married men.
Now she comes to Thanksgiving dinner
wearing bleach-stained jeans,
an oversized Steelers sweatshirt,
hole-y Nikes.
Too much Coors Light makes her skin
Pillsbury Doughboy puffy
and she smells like wet dog.
She touches my arm,
asks if there are any “new boys.”
No, I say, wanting to pull my body inside itself
as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade
marches onward through my grandma’s  TV.
Well, you’ll find someone eventually, she says.
Miley Cyrus is singing some schoolgirl lovesong
and I’m thinking about the Christmas my stepdad
choked my sister, and if that’s what “new boys” do
I’m not interested. I don’t tell her how
I quit fucking after I realized I quit recognizing
the guys I’ve fucked, almost asked my ex
Who are you? as he came.
How can I explain to my mother the last time I had sex
I Lysol’d my room, changed sheets, told him never to
come back.



My ex boyfriend is fingering me and I can’t come.

We’re in his mother’s Camaro, Artwork by Gene McCormick
System of a Down on the radio.
My clit is a bloody raspberry
and when erect, is slightly bigger than a pea.
But he can’t find it, reaches in with his fist.

I’m so stoned the street lamps seem majestic.
I don’t wonder how he can drive with my head
on his lap,
only one hand on the wheel.
My grandmother sleeps in an air-conditioned house.

I’m eighteen/don’t
leave a note when I leave/never
say no, just more
and I’m saying it now
even though it’s starting to hurt, I’m
starting to get sore, nowhere near orgasm.

We’re on the highway,
somewhere near Pittsburgh.
The speedometer reaches 90,
the summer wind blows through the open window,
the heat smudges my thick eyeliner.

The sky, a black pit.
My new boyfriend doesn’t know where I am
and I don’t care.


Kayla Sargeson has studied with the poets Jan Beatty, Tony Trigilio, and D. A. Powell. Her chapbook Mini Love Gun was recently published by Main Street Rag. Her poems appear or are forthcoming from 5 AM, Columbia Poetry Review, and Chiron Review.