THE PROSTITUTE’S DAUGHTER
hailing cars in the dark using only her alluring womanhood, my mama made a living off her sexuality starting all the way back in the 80s. my canned peas came from her famously firm grip. people say you hate cops a lot for a white girl, and i ask them if they’ve ever seen their mother’s mugshot. if they’ve ever watched the charges stack up. 1, 8, 15, 19. i want to know if they have ever watched the very thing that sustains their family be called dirty. they say sex sells but only in a specific way. women have the right to profit off their bodies as long as some male producer gets a cut. according to the feminists, the hooker's child is someone to be pitied. how hurt i must be. how damaged my psyche. but don’t fret, ladies. after all, i am a prostitute’s daughter. i was taught that my body holds power. i am aware of my own worth.
the staggeringly strong scent of trapped smoke and dehydrated urine impregnates the air and i make sure to check my baby’s breath. confirm that he didn’t choke on his vomit while i slept. his friends tell me that he’s so much better since he met me and i wonder how much more grim things could have possibly been before. i hate all of his habits, but i still love him. navigating over cum crusted boxers and crushed coors cans, i locate the stain remover from under the chipped sink and get to work as he grunts and moans, presumably fucking god knows who in his dreams. i’ve seen his search history. i know i am aging out of his preferred sexual category. i try not to worry about my worry lines and the way they will inevitably be our apocalypse. instead, i wake early on these mornings and erase the messes he made the night before, mostly so i don’t have to deal with the self-loathing bullshit he will pull whenever faced with consequences. i don’t think i can handle one more session of convincing him that he’s a good person. (there is no way for me to convince him that he is good because he isn’t.) i stay in spite of that. because i know that bad people need love too. i repeat it back to myself in the cloudy mirror: i love him. i love him. even if it’s only because i’m too afraid to love anything else. even if it’s only because i am too afraid to love anything that doesn’t
April Renee is a poet residing in Portland, Oregon. April has been writing and performing poetry since age nine and views writing as an opportunity to explore her identity as a queer disabled woman. April’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Querencia Press, Feral Journal of Poetry and Art, Eunoia Review, Pile Press, and others.
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