SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

"Escort" is her word & by Jennifer Jean

the whole interview’s about her girl.

 

D says, I wanted her to know

but know my way,

 

not at school or from some jerk.

So one day I say, “We should talk,” & she’s freaked.

 

We sit down in the kitchen &

she starts crying. (So I’m thinking, She knows…)

 

“You got Cancer!

You got Cancer!” she starts screaming.

 

D snorts, We laugh about it now.

 

How she was so relieved

I wasn’t

dying.

 

*

Others in town talk

about D’s son

 

finding her nude online, or

fellow yacht-clubbers finding her & showing him

her webcam antics, her customer ratings

on her “Escort” ads.

 

My son was bound,

says D, 

to notice

 

my overnight bag. I stuffed it

with lingerie.

I mean—

jeez…

 

she shrugs.

 

There’s a bit of dead

air for the boy, then

he’s gone

 

from the interview.

 

                *

D scans the Starbucks

where we perch on stools. Says she’s failed

the bar exam a lot, her ex is a nerd, that she wants another degree

& to write a memoir,

But I’m so exhausted!

 

Then it’s back to her girl, When I take my girl

on errands, I point out

 

all the jerks in town who’re clients &

we laugh. An orgasm

is like a pedicure for these guys.

I mean—jeez…

 

Who does that?

 

she shakes out her long, frosted hair. She’s fifty-three

so she’s got some grey

but it looks classy.

 

I wonder if she’ll start pointing.

 

                *

Instead, D looks back at me, One time we saw

 

this big ass politico I’ve known for years

slurping pancakes with his wife, at IHOP.

 

She says his name

& I’m ready to stop the recorder.

Too funny, she sighs. She’s so

 

far away she squints

at me, says, My girl’s cool. I nod.

We talk about all our guys.

It’s all good.

 

                *

Just wish there wasn’t

 

side effects.

She leans away but we’re closer now—like mother,

like daughter. & the monied men in Starbucks seem to be

closing in as the place crowds, but

 

I’m hooked. Side effects?

 

I feel nothing. Like that song!

After nine years of this, she sings, I feel nothing

nothing nothing at all…


Jennifer Jean’s debut poetry collection is The Fool. She’s the recipient of a 2013 Ambassador for Peace Award for her activism in the arts, and her poems have appeared in: Rattle, Waxwing, Crab Creek, Denver Quarterly, Mud City, Green Mountains, and more. She’s Poetry Editor of The Mom Egg, Managing Editor of Talking Writing, and Co-director of Morning Garden Artists Retreats. Jennifer teaches Free2Write poetry workshops to trauma survivors and to sex-trafficking survivors. 
 

Boom by Haya Pomrenze

Pushcart Prize Nominations by The Editors