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she stands, knock-kneed and wobbly,
close to beautiful
world-weary but none the wiser

watching wheels of fine mist swirling
round a streetlamp on the verge of off
their shift is over

nothing moves but the warm breakfast smells
borne aloft from their grills
by morning’s soft breeze

makeup long since erased
her face just looks like skin
masochism is a valuable job skill
she knows that now, but

more and more it feels like she’s doing
a really bad impersonation of herself
it’s okay to cry, but only if you’re faking it
just let yourself be broken and humiliated

if she just reveals enough
maybe she’ll never have to hide again

you can’t go to school to learn this business
selling pretty things to old men 
with silky venom

each night a back-of-the-envelope calculation
a little in-depth exploration
with the guy who buried his wife below
the high-tide line

a little appalled to find
she feels sorry for him
every time 

in the trees above
a lark calls
it must be dawn