This is the poem I can't write. I've never hit the backspace so many times, never scribbled out so many lines. This is the ball of yarn I'm not sure I'll ever untangle. The knot I've left unbrushed since childhood, but now it's so matted, it breaks all my scissors and combs. Look at me hiding behind metaphors because I'm afraid I'll cut my fingers on the point. Because the point is that I use other women to determine my self-worth. That I'm never sure if I'm good enough unless I'm the best and there is always someone better isn't there? That another women's success feels like a personal attack, and shit I don't want to talk about this but I think we need to talk about this, because every time I see a provocative woman I hate myself, and I hate her a little bit too. And I get the feeling I'm not the only one who uses an outdated rubric to determine their grade. The only one who needs a grade to feel they have value. God I want to scrub this off so hard that it stings. This inky stain ignored for so long it's become a tattoo so ugly I'd rather pretend it's a birthmark. Like envy was the sin assigned to me by God. Some days I look in the mirror and think I'm beautiful, not despite, not in comparison to. Just truth. And then I hear an old coworker telling me the hottest women are the ones who don't know it. A chorus of lamentation about my fat thighs. All the careful reminders that boys will jump when offered something better. And there's always something better isn't there? Now I've taken you down to the bottom of the well. This is where the echoes live, the place where I point fingers at corpses. Where I use other women's bodies as stepping stones to try to escape. Because we all want to escape. But this isn't a birthmark. And I don't believe in sin. Or God. Or unsolvable problems. So why the hell do I believe that anyone could be better? Or worse? And I think I'm scared to write because I don't know how it ends. I wish I knew how to translate thought into feeling. To transfigure conviction into belief. But I don't. I don't.