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/emily lake hansen

Try something different this time

Get the cheapest flight to Vegas. Go in the middle of the summer if you have to when the desert is a sauna with the door jammed shut. Order a double vodka when the dry air causes turbulence. Stash some cash in your bra. The bright lights are worth it. Strip your clothes off when you get to the hotel room. Leave the blinds open to the pool while you change. Play every slot machine that calls your name. If you win, keep going. If you lose, don’t cry. Get in a Lyft in your wet swimsuit. Leave the seat puddled with salt. Wear fishnet stockings that dig into your thighs. If you’re high, don’t try to cross the street. If you’re hungover, eat hash browns from the hotel bar. If you want to – and it’s okay if you want to – go to the darkest strip club on the block. Sit at the rail. Don’t worry about being seen. If a girl gets in your lap, let her. Touch her gingerly if she says yes, if you have money still from the slot machines. You don’t have to know why it feels good. Take her to the back room behind the curtains. Hand over your credit card with the highest limit. Let her run her hand along the side of your face. Let her look you in the eyes. Be a body with another body. Be eyes with other eyes.

Emily Lake Hansen is the author of Home and Other Duty Stations (Kelsay Books, 2020) and the chapbook The Way the Body Had to Travel (dancing girl press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared in Atticus Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Rust + Moth, Midway Journal, and SWWIM, among others. Emily is a PhD student at Georgia State University, and currently serves as the poetry editor for Minerva Rising Press.

Illustration by Aliya Smith.

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