The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Giselle Potter – Circus

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Circus

After the measles stopped scratching   my teacher Mrs. Schwartz takes me to the Barnum and Bailey’s Circus   She takes Me   none of the other girls This is my first circus   I am so tired because I couldn’t sleep   Mrs. Schwartz drives and sings Frére Jacques and then we both sing Frére Jacques   A woman drives next to us and smiles I move close to Mrs. Schwartz   I want the woman to think I am Mrs. Schwartz’s daughter

When we get there two clowns are smoking cigarettes outside   One sees me and squeezes his big red nose   Behind a curtain I can see a bearded lady who is smaller than I am   There are pictures of man twins that share one body   and dead babies in jars that I do not want to see   elephants wear flowers around their necks and march in a circle   one big tiger climbs up a little ladder   A man with a big curly mustache wants him to jump through a ring of fire   The tiger does not want to jump so the man cracks the whip

Tina Barry


Giselle Potter’s parents started a puppet theatre company and her grandparents were artists, so, she says, “It’s no surprise that I became one too.” After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, Giselle became an illustrator. Her drawings have been included in The New York Times and The New Yorker. Her two recent books are Tell Me What to Dream About and This is My Dollhouse.

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