It’s a terrible show & I love it—

all the drama cut & re-mixed
like music, sleek-haired women
fighting for a single man, always one

in red who says I didn’t come here
to mess around. Me neither,

girl. I’m here to claw any dull prize
from the world’s fist & flaunt it
like a summer home, to showcase
my life like it’s the backstory of a contest
I’ve already won: the apartment

not clean enough, my healing salt
crystal & inspirational quotes,
every man who never loved me rapt

with my winged eyeliner. Let the host
say can you imagine—once some nobody 

wearing sweats until noon, crying
in the shower over the New Zealand Gannet
that died wooing a replica of itself.

Look at her now—chosen, cheekbones
glossed sharp enough to cut the sun. See—
even the sad girl can be made worth

watching. Tune in to see a contestant’s
tears sparkle, a glass of Prosecco
at her lips. This morning in the real
world—highway traffic, commuters

slowing to see a sedan on the shoulder,
the crushed hood caving into itself. I was taught
once, that if in trouble, I should scream
fire instead of help.


Emily Cinquemani