Pretending to Be Loved (The Prayer of Prostitution)

by Alexis Marie

Wads of cash and slut-red lipstick,
she got her mouth lifted stiff because she forgot how to smile.
Breasts pushed up against her shirt’s V,
she wears black leather in hopes someone won’t notice she’s hurting.

She used to call her friends when she felt lonely,
but no one ever answered when she called.
So she’d race to their houses,
and they’d shake their heads, and shut the door.

Now she receives texts
for 15 cents
asking for directions to her
studio apartment
from lovelorn, greasy pigs
browsing the Internet classifieds,

who found her escort service where the charge
is enough for her food, rent,
and cigarettes. She
sits on the curb ’cause
she has no front step,
with a condom wrapper tell tale
in the corner of her bra,
so her clients know they’ve found the right door.