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Thursday, May 18, 2023


by Karen Olshansky

I’ve always despised Martha Stewart,

her smug, “I can cook anything from scratch, 

decorate a table with weeds from my

yard,”and, her hints:

add a Lazy Susan to your fridge,

label everything,

make a triple fudge multilayered cake

while dictating an article on preventing mildew,

create a blender smoothie from 

home grown vegetables,

and, most importantly,

how to be the perfect prison inmate by teaching yoga.

My first swimsuit was a

two piece blue stripped beauty

with a skirt bottom.

I loved it, the only problem was that after a hard afternoon

of playing in the shallow river waters, 

my top would

drift upwards to reveal tiny nipples, my mother would say,

“just take off your top” but that was bad advice for a 

self conscious little girl.

at 16 I wore a one piece tank suit with four buttons on 

the front outlining my breasts,

my mother thought I looked wow, 

I felt that my thighs were fat.

At 26, I had a grown-up two piece with a skirt bottom.

After a dip in the ocean a much older male relative said,

“You are a fine figure of a woman” which made me 

feel slightly dirty, never did wear that outfit  again.

Now when I go swimming, I hide accordion skin,

vein lined legs, and falling body parts

by wearing a long sleeve caftan

that drapes towards my ankles.

Martha Stewart, who, at 81, throws her perfectly coiffed hair

around like she is making a Clairol commercial, dons white (white!)

bathing attire that shows

the full top half her breasts. 

My grandmother and her friends would go swimming 

unashamed of the blue streaks threatening to

escape from their legs, belly fat and breasts hanging low 

as ripe peaches on a tree.

They never heard of Martha Stewart.

Karen Olshansky lives in Marin County California with her husband and a well fed Koi named Pickle Face. She writes poetry in order to maintain her sanity. Her work has appeared in The Literary Nest, Tuck Magazine and the anthologies Lingering in the Margins, Life in Ten Minutes, Unspoken, and The James River Anthology.