May 012010

Danielle Mebert


A baby is nothing but a bundle of numbers:                


ounces gained, inches grown,

the volume of formula, the frequency

of feedings over and over

and over.  Onesies.                                                             

Terrible twos, three little pigs, ear drops four

times a day, five fat fingers

smearing the food pyramid on the wall.


During your pregnancy, you gain

seventeen pounds. The baby                                                        

weighs seven pounds even, so

the rest goes to your brain

and another baby grows and grows

and makes you hate the pink and wrinkly thing alive

outside your body.             


Motherhood is nothing but a bundle of numbers:


the minutes that pass between cries, the hours

spent in bed, the days you don’t get dressed, the nights

you walk like days, the duration of blubbering

that forces you to re-open your eyes on the expressway.                   

The brain child wants to kill you both.  A little voice,

maybe yours—maybe the pink and wrinkly thing’s—

tells you that you can’t let that happen.

So you don’t drive into six-ton trees and don’t drop it

twelve stories out the window or drown it                               

in three and a half inches of bathwater.  You remind yourself


to hug him every four hours and change him promptly

after he makes a number two.  One by one

you kiss his ten fingers and ten toes. 

Numbers saved you.  Five, ten, twenty, forty   


milligrams of happiness on the tip of your tongue. 

  One Response to “Motherhood by the Numbers”

  1. Dear Ms. Mebert: Ruth Sterglantz turned me on to this poem, and it’s just terrific! I shall now search for more. -Alfred Guy