What’s The Worst Thing That Has Ever Happened To You? – Stephanie Kaylor

from “Ask a Sex Worker!”


Desert brothel bunny of the week, some winter month, some year a decade prior. You won, the madam says, gifting a package of rose-scented soaps. You deserve it

all. The managers keep their analytics, while the civilians, too, keep their own. View rate, click rate, chlamydia panel, gonorrhea panel, the swab of spit, the bust-waist-hips, what happened with her father. I bring my papers with me, hand them over where I am told I can. The occupational healthcare center, occupational hazard, occupational no.

Three hours on the phone coils its rubber cord from “we don’t help people like you here,” to “we’ve never helped someone like you here,” to “some whore wants to know if she’s clean.”

Isn’t it incredible, a friend asks me, how much progress we’ve made in such a short time?

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.

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