There are four ways that a woman can wreck herself. I know of five
and am checking them off like a shopping list. I am cycling through
selves and begging the bus to stop so I can get on. I am a disgraced
member of this bus’s ecosystem or I am waiting thirty minutes for
the next one. I am seeking anything I could conceivably breathe.

There are seven ways that a woman can wreck herself but most of
these are not compliant with health codes. Mostly what I do is wait
thirty minutes for the next one. Mostly what I do is lie and covet
and dream vividly about motherhood. There is usually a lot of blood.
In a hot tub, I discuss my own mother’s hospitalization. Forgiveness,
I am learning, is largely a myth. We hold each others’ cruelties like
buckets of rainwater. My aunt flew across the country in a panic when
she heard. What I remember from that week: running through the
halls with my cousin, three years younger; a koi pond; a panda statue.

There are eighteen ways that a woman can wreck herself and most
of them are time. I have been a little girl at so many people’s houses
in so many different nights and mornings and I have always smiled
with my teeth and I have never once been honest. I have been sharp
and burning and hungry and I have cut all my hair off and my whole
life, all of it, I could have been so much prettier. At twelve years old
I was apocalypse and now I am granting myself another kind of body.

There are too many sins to count, to confess. The best way for a
woman to wreck herself is escape; landing in another world, softly,
like an egret into water.