by Jessie Lynn McMains
This book is really unique — it’s one big fabulist poem, separated into movements, kind of reminiscent of Erin Belieu’s Black Box. The overall conceit is a circus show, the idea of “running away to join the circus” & each movement examines recurring themes, like desire, identity, & loss — specifically, the loss of an insular community — your own band of circus performers.
The question the drives it all is, What happens when the circus leaves town, & you decide to stay behind? Or when the circus leaves you behind, can you make a life wherever you happened to be when the bottom fell out of your world?
There isn’t an answer, but this book is an autopsy.