one can hope

the strippers
are out of work
in a pandemic
fully clothed
looking for jobs
that will pay
a couple hundred
in cash an evening
eventually
transitioning to
sex workers
on the internet
for the huddled masses
yearning
to be touched
willingly giving out
their crucial
credit card info
for a moment
of connection.

i don’t know why
they decided
to chat with me
at the gas station
i don’t give off
that come chat vibe
but they were bored
told me all about
how much easier
it is to perform
for a webcam
than drunk strangers
i could sympathize
from the years
of bouncing
and bartending
you say hands off
but it always required
at least one head
hitting the stage.

it’s a funny thing
knowing the ladies
behind
the stage names and tassels
cheyenne is really emily
she lost her license
likes the occasional bump
she is sweet
but broken
looking to land
that prize fish
that will take care of her
but knowing
deep down
he doesn’t exist
or he could never
accept her as her
without the singles
clenched tightly
in her g-string.

i just listen
as the ladies talk
wish them luck
with the livestream
one writes the link
on a receipt
passes it to me
with a devilish grin
a hundred stories
flash
through my mind
as i nod my thanks
i wait until
they are in their car
before tossing it
to the floorboard
and i wonder about emily
maybe she landed that fish
now she is head of the pta
lost somewhere in suburbia

one can hope

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