Issue Thirty-One - Winter 2018


By Donna Isaac

Early on pubescent girls learned about undergarments:
training bras, panties, garter and sanitary
napkin belts, girdles, bustiers, sports bras.
Was there ever so much devised to hold
so little in?

My zaftig Aunt Hazel wanted to look sleek
in her house dresses and went through the torturous
ritual of ordering special long-line girdles,
corsets really, from Sears & Roebuck.

She’d strain and wiggle into the things,
risking apoplexy, so much flesh
crushed beneath plastic stays, panels,
garters attached to heavy stockings.

Nowadays we gals have Spanx,
modern corsets in every
rubberized form and fashion.

Whatever happened to liberation,
burning the bra, letting your freak
flag fly? Perhaps it is the vision of Great-
Aunt Bernice in the nursing home,
unbuttoning her gown at the waist
and finding her breasts are there.

It’s hard to stay tucked in, up, all the time.

I am like Amy Lowell’s lady* who longs
for the touch of her now-deceased lover
unloosening whale bone and brocade,
bathing in a marble basin,
breathing deeply the gold of the sun.

*”Patterns” by Amy Lowell

Copyright 2018 Isaac