“I’m a hooker, goddammit,” she’d say, with a shout, with a slap, Emphasizing her words as she’d turn back to me from the mirror, Voice low, and scared, and threatening. With almost a choke, Almost a growl, she’d shout “Don’t ever call me a whore!” Then she’d stride, with her pride on her sleeve while the fog and the dusk Closed in behind her, the greasy old clock striking seven. Her pride somewhat thinner, next morning around about seven She’d come dragging in, her tired old shoes going slap, Slap-slap, the morning light fading her lips to dusk— In the morning she never would bother to look in the mirror, Afraid all she’d see was the face of a tired old whore. Instead she’d just light up a cigarette, and with a choke And a cough, she’d turn to me, blowing out smoke. With a choke. She’d count out small, blue balloons, “Bag number seven, I’ll split it with you,” she’d say, “I ain’t a whore— Whores just give it away. I sell it.” and slap! She’d throw down the works on the table, next to the mirror. “You do the honors,” she’d say, and I would until dusk. “I’m a hooker, goddammit,” she’d say while she walked into dusk While behind her, bloody needle still in hand, I’d choke Back a laugh, looking down at a face in the dusty old mirror And scrape up two piles, a brown and a white, ’ball seven, Into a spoon, and heat it, and draw it, and slap! It’d land in my brain like a freight train -- but who is the whore? Then after a while I wouldn’t care anymore: who’s the whore. And with a salty metal-taste tongue, my own dusk Would creep in. I would forget where she was till the slap Of the door would remind my nodded head with the choke Of a start: the first of, I’d guess, about six or seven She’d have that night, so I’d glance toward the hall where the mirror Would show her back and her date’s, as they walked past the mirror Out of sight where she’d do whatever it is that a whore Would do with whoever she could maybe six or seven Times each night if she’s lucky, then dawn until dusk Spending all that she’d earned from each bump, every insult, each choke, Every fantasy, asshole, corrupt cop, each whistle, each slap. Then she’d come home to the mirror, to a chemical twilight till dusk (With her whore, I might think with distaste) but I’d soon somehow choke It back seven or eight times before I’d fight back with a slap.