Two Poems from ASK A SEX WORKER!
DO YOU REGRET IT?
Somewhere there is a line up at this very moment, yes, even at this hour. Steak and eggs, coffee and head, a man once said when I asked him: why so early? Somewhere, there is this line up: a woman will be picked, or she will not. These days in the desert, the men come so rarely that the twelve hour shifts turn into always being on call, days rolling into one another like the barren plains, wild horses spoken of more often than seen. Somewhere, they are trying, helping one another out of bed when the bell rings. Someone is always sleeping, but still she rises. It will never be the right choice: too tired to work, haven’t gotten enough work, should have left last week, should have come in early, should be working solo again, should have pinned my hair up, should have bought another pack of cigarettes, should have tried harder with, should be going home to, should try harder to forget the, should get another coffee, ashamed to be unphased by the smell of broiling meat.
HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR DATING LIFE?
On Twitter, people joke about getting a doctorate in OnlyFans Studies. At dinners, I drink too much wine until my lips chap into a purple rose. Once, I made poetry from the discomfort, recited it as a verse, as a prayer to consecrate myself holy: why must we ask and tell what we do to make money? Why can’t we speak of our passions, our hobbies, the questions that keep us up at night? Lately I have only been kept up by tiredness. If there were someone beside me I’d say isn’t it funny how you can work from bed and still be so tired after, the joke being that there never is an after. Lately I neither ask nor answer, reciting silences from memory, enunciating their every vowel wholly.
Stephanie Kaylor is Reviews Editor at Glass: A Journal of Poetry. They are a PhD student at UC Santa Barbara, and curate the Sex Workers’ Archival Project. They live in Brooklyn.