Marie on 'Dancing with the Stars'
What bothers me is not the way she flung herself
into her brothers for a big finale
then stretched her plump body
across them like a cat
or an intoxicated bachelor party entertainer—
or the way Donny held her midsection,
that red fringed fabric, with both hands
and for a moment too long
in an awkward sideways hug/squeeze
before sending her back to the stage
with a small thrust as if
returning a snared fish to water.
What bothers me is not that she collapsed
after doing her samba routine—
or that this made the audience giggle—
but regained consciousness in time
to get her scores from the judges,
saying, This is what happens to me sometimes
when I get winded; I’m sorry,
as if all women pass out when we get
a little too worked up and as if this is something
for which we owe public apologies.
(Where are the fainting couches
and smelling salts when we need them?)
What bothers me is not the time the camera cut
to Donny days after their father died
and he cried through his make-up
as he cheered his graceless sister on.
It is not even the time he whistled through his fingers
for her when she did not flub up the mambo.
Nor is it what you think it is: her dressing up
like a doll from a pedophile’s wet dream for the freestyle,
flashing her frilly pastel undergarments
and letting Jonathan Roberts throw her around
the stage while her limbs hung limp
as if she were just another dead girl.
What bothers me is that, afterward,
the rouge, blotted on her face with the precision
of an eight year old, welled up with beads of sweat
like so many family secrets coming to the surface
and collecting with nowhere to go.
I only hope that, during the commercial break,
someone showed her the small compassion
of handing her an absorbent towel with which
she could daub herself and pull her act together.
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