Upon finding there is a website that compares your weight to that of other things, by Kindra McDonald

I spend an afternoon comparing the weight of everything I see: m&m’s, an overflowing bookcase, a child-sized coffin. I am something akin to 2,500 roses with thorns and leaves intact.

When I learn a single spider’s thread can hold a person, one strand is strong as steel, I imagine one woven long enough to encircle the earth—cradling it the way you protect a baby’s head—the way the space between your thumb and index finger—is the exact measurement of the base of a newborn’s skull. Imagine our blue green planet suspended like a hammock, strong has a new meaning.

The average human heart weighs 11 ounces which is the weight of 114 butterflies. Ants can carry up to 5,000 times their own weight and for the last hour I have watched an ant completely obscured by the curved end of a hot dog roll carry that weight underground.

So strong, I hear when my back is turned.

The strongest woman in the world can lift a man above her head like a trophy. In her photo, she balances on one foot and kicks her leg out, while the man is arrow-straight, wide-eyed and dizzy with altitude. Her smile gleams.

There are world records for the greatest weight lifted by a human beard, the heaviest weight hoisted by an ear, the most weight balanced on human teeth. I find no world records for the amount of grief a single heart the weight of 114 butterflies can bear.

Hard is not the same as bad, or so I’ve been told.

Hard takes on a different meaning when you are trying to pry open a coconut on a dingy apartment kitchen floor with a hammer, a bent butter knife and your grandmother’s recipe

for coconut cake. Hard is your first sober New Year’s, the dark marble of a tumor, burying everyone who shares your genetic makeup. 

Hard things make you stronger, I’m patted on the back.

I spend an entire day measuring the tensile strength of household objects using a spring scale gauge my grandfather made. Testing fishing line and twine, rubber bands, three stands of my father’s hair, the silk from these corner cobwebs. It’s satisfying to know exactly when a thing will break.


Kindra McDonald is the author of the collections Teaching a Wild Thing, Fossils and In the Meat Years. She received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and is a poet artist working and teaching in mixed-media and found poetry. You can find her in the woods or at www.kindramcdonald.com