My Sister The Stranger by Andrea Heinz

Andrea Heinz is a Canadian woman who exited from commercial sexual exploitation and is now a sex trade abolitionist. In this poem she speaks to a woman actively selling sex and professing joy with her participation in the industry. Heinz wrote this poem with her “sister” in mind – a friend she loves dearly who she hopes will one day change her views on the sex trade and also seek exit.

The poem touches on themes of social conditioning, self-denial, false empowerment, encroaching trauma, dissociation, stigma, women’s (universal) economic marginalisation, false identity, missing and murdered women, and the divide between women on this topic.

My Sister The Stranger

Drinking proffered poison down,
you attempt to quench your thirst.
Artificially sweetened,
it’s pleasing to the palate.

Look at what we share right here,
these minor gushing wounds.
If you prefer we can pay no mind,
just like we practiced before.

I know what they say about me,
they mention you as well.
We are completely opposite,
we are one and the same.

I can’t hear what you’re saying,
the hand still covers your mouth.
I know you’re struggling to speak,
we both are struggling to breathe.

That face you make looks like a mask,
careful as it may never go.
At least that’s what my mother said,
She never led me afield.

I refuse to stand beside you,
lest I resume decay.
Unsure if I will see you again,
I am not even seeing you now.

Further reading

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