Photoshopping the Body

Carla Schwartz


Surely my mother would have known what to do.
Would have understood Masking,
Healing. Once, she used Illustrator to make a rainbow
Medusa of my sister's hair. That was back in the 90s,
when nothing was obvious. She was just that kind of woman,
to dive into a computer program & wrangle
with it, until she got what she wanted. 

For this image of me in my bikini, 
she would have been a Magic Wand
wizard, smoothing out the wrinkles & shadows,
removing the thickness around the thighs,
that same belly, those same thick thighsshe bore,
with the click + drag of a mouse, wouldn’t she? 

To look in the mirror, & see my mother’s rounded body, 
the sunburst of skin from the naval, the rays, the folds,
the darker, vertical depression that leads netherward,
what I was once embarrassed of for her, saddens me.

My mother never wore a bikini,
but would have relished summers on this lake, 
to swim every morning, after waking just a few steps from shore.

My mother, if only she were here, would sit with me
overlooking the lake, wearing shorts & oversized T,
an iPad in hand, never mind her belly,
& swipe, tap, hold.



Poems by Carla Schwartz have appeared in Aurorean, ArLiJo, Fourth River, Fulcrum, Common Ground, Cactus Heart, Mom Egg, Switched-on Gutenberg, Gyroscope, Naugatuck River, Solstice, SHARKPACK, Triggerfish, and Ibbetson Street, among others. Her book, Mother, One More Thing (Turning Point) is available on Her second book of poetry is forthcoming with Finishing Line Press. Her CB99videos youtube channel has 1,000,000+ views. Learn more at Check out her blog at

Return to Contents