Heartbeat Line

by    /  July 14, 2020  / Comments Off on Heartbeat Line

by Kayla Sargeson

White car/no “Lyft” sticker.
He bops his head to his friend’s mixtape,
some wannabe Lil Pump shit.

Do you want a donut? he says.
Hands me a yellow store bag,
cold maple donuts in a plastic container/
white paper towels—folded up.

The donut is stale,
but I eat like I haven’t eaten in days.
Today’s first kindness—
I believe hope is this semi-crunchy pastry
that’s been driving around
in the car for a week, in and out of the fridge.

Into the tunnels, through Uptown, past
the Uptown Mini Mart,
Ryan’s Auto Glass.
Just before 10 am/nobody’s lined up at the soup kitchen yet.
I think of Rayshawn who likes a girl—
     she kinda looks like Paul Walker’s girlfriend in Fast and the Furious,
     but a little thicker
—so much he’s gonna ask his barber to shave a heartbeat line in his hair.
She’s a nurse. It’ll impress her.
Demont’s smile when he got an “A” on a paper,
first time all year,
will get me through the week.

Jason’s got dark skin, mole under an eye,
is wearing an olive hoodie, mustard-yellow
beanie/changes the song/raps along.
His fat hands fed me breakfast
with something like love.

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). With Lisa Alexander, she co-curates the Laser Cat reading series.


City of Asylum believes that All Pittsburghers are Poets. With the Poem of the Week series, we seek to increase the readership and appreciation of poetry locally by publishing poems written by residents of Allegheny County of all ages and levels of experience. In partnership with the Poetry Editors at Sampsonia Way Magazine, City of Asylum advances our mission to defend, celebrate, and build on creative freedom of expression. This project received a RADical ImPAct Grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD).

Comments are closed.