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4th of July, Pittsburgh

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Six years ago it was Chicago,
a party at Jeff’s.
Nate was still alive.
It was the night
we made out on the train.
I locked myself out of my apartment
and had to call Eddie the Maintenance Man,
drunk, to let me in, prayed
I had $40 in my bank account
to cover the lock out fee.

I ask Jeff now if I’ll always be this sad
and he says yes.

I’m watching two girls on the swings
in the Armstrong playground,
laughing, sharing cigarettes
and I remember when the psychic said
I had everything I needed in front of me,
when I had love staring at me in the face,
big and bright
like fireworks exploding in the sky.


Pittsburgh Quarterly is now accepting submissions for its online poetry feature. PQ Poem is seeking poetry from local, national and international poets that highlight a strong voice and good use of imagery, among other criteria. To have your work featured, send up to three previously unpublished poems in Word or PDF format as well as a brief bio to

Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but if work is accepted elsewhere, please alert us.


Kayla Sargeson

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.