Mary Sauer

Baby Fat


I have tried it all.
Beginning with giving it up altogether— 
Sat at the table
In the diner on Mill Street
With mom, dad, and the other three 
And said,
I didn’t feel well.
I had a late lunch.
Nothing sounded good.

I have tried Atkins.
In the 9th grade,
While Rachel made fun
Because anything
(absolutely anything)
Could pass by her lips
Without spending so much
As a moment
On her hips,
Or the soft space just bellow
Her navel.


I have been small.
Counted on paper, in apps,
In my head.
Weighed, measured,
Went for a run.
Walked miles in the neighborhoods—
In Bolivar,
In South Kansas City,
In Excelsior Springs.

And I have gained it back,
Plus ten more.
Just like they said I would.


I have tried intuitive eating
And body positivity.
Avoided the woman in the mirror
And looked her in the eyes.
Stood backward on the scale at the doctor's office
Told the nurse
With the glasses on the chain,
To tell the doctor
I wouldn’t be stepping up
Onto the scale that day.
Told them to fuck my insurance
Have them call me,
I said.

And I have eaten it all.
Took the pad of my finger,
And swiped it across
The bottom of the bowl.
Caught sweetness, melted
And running down the side of 
The cone with my tongue,
And closed my eyes and tasted it.
Really tasted it.
I have slept naked,
And said only good things about the dimples 
On the back of my legs.
And I have bought jeans two sizes too big,
Baggy sweatshirts,
And said only hateful things about the dimples
On the back of my legs.

And I have sworn
To feed myself only good things.
And I have sworn to feed myself
Whatever sounds good.
To hide the scale.
To weigh every Monday.
To weigh every day.
To never weigh again.


And I have tried to get free,
To be comfortable with the way 
Parts of me will always spill over
And fold.
I have petted the softness of me.
Pinched, smashed,
And sucked it in.
I have read essays.
Written essays.
Chanted mantras.
Swearing I won’t pass this on
To them,
With the dimples on the back of their legs
And the bellies that hang over places,
Deliciously so.

And I have failed to put them first.
To choose to feed myself
In front of them,
To choose to love myself
In front of them,
Instead of continuing to chase thin.
I have mourned the cruelly sudden
Melting away of all my favorite places—
The roundness of their cheeks
The folds under their chins
Kissed the swell of their belly
For the very last time
While wishing for,
Praying for,
The melting away 
Of all the same places 
On me.


Mary Sauer is wearing a yellow top and oval glasses with thick black rims; she sits in front of a white and red background and her hair is long, curly and has bangs.

Mary Sauer is a writer and mother living in Kansas City, Missouri. Her writing touches on mental health, grief, and motherhood and can be found in Vice’s Tonic, Popula, and Good Housekeeping. [provided in April 2023]

Skip to content