Two Poems by Kayla Sargeson

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

Note: TW, sexual assault & domestic violence


Bless his fist banging against the shower wall.
Bless his enlarged, angry eyes.
Bless the shampoo bottle that falls down.
Bless the wall that wasn’t my face.
Bless his fingers scrolling through my phone. 
Bless his naked body, water dripping from hair.
Bless his fist.

Bless his voice, You’re disgusting.
Bless the other men I did not fuck.
Bless his long legs walking toward the couch.
Bless the sun that is not yet up.
Bless the man who loves me.
Bless the wall that was not my face.

Bless the voice, Come here.
Bless large eyes,
naked man.
Bless, This is your fault. 
Bless a dropped towel.
Bless thighs spread apart.
Bless the familiar cock,
my terrified body.

Bless the locksmith that changed the lock.
Bless, Was it good for you?
Bless a new key,
the woman on the abuse hotline,
Leave him
Bless the wall that could have been my face.

Bless the garbage bag I put his shit in.
Bless the note I left.

Bless the date: December 2nd.
The date I did not die. He did not kill me. 

Bless the tears I did not cry. Even once. 
Bless the courthouse. Attorney. PFA. Deena. 
Bless the couch he raped me on. The job
I almost lost. Silence on the end of a phone call.
Bless the date. I did not die.
Bless the wall that was almost my face.



I still find traces of him in the house—
blue lighter under the bed, cologne
bottle under the dresser,
the knife he used to lay with
tucked under the blankets of the futon
in the extra room.
I don’t permit anything patchouli scented in the house,
got a piercing on my face he once said
is so fucking cute,
read articles like:
How to Tell if You’re Dating a Psychopath
and 7 Signs of Narcissism 
until 2 am. 
Closely follow news stories like
the one about the 26-year old woman in Butler
who was killed by her boyfriend
and his friend, shot three times.
They set her body on fire, left her on Pulaski Road.
I don’t know how you could do that to someone you love,
even if you think they’re cheating.
All the online articles have the same message:
It’s incurable.
I still don’t sleep well at night. 

Photo of Kayla Sergeson

Photo of Kayla Sergeson

Kayla Sargeson is the author of the full-length collection First Red (Main Street Rag, 2016) and the chapbooks BLAZE (Main Street Rag, 2015) and Mini Love Gun (Main Street Rag, 2013). Her poems also appear or are forthcoming from 5 AM, Columbia Poetry Review, and Pittsburgh Poetry Review.