In Which I Defend my Decision to Run Away and Join the Circus


March 1, 2014 by The Citron Review

by George Dila


It was an impulse. And impulsivity can be dangerous. A sign of emotional distress. Taking my order for a classic chicken sandwich at McDonald’s last week was a high-school girl named Crystal with multiple scars on her forearms. Some were older, faint gray streaks. Others were newer, fresher, like redworms crawling over her skin. I wanted to tell her not to do that to herself. I wanted to take her in my arms and rock her and tell her everything would be OK. I would tell her there are an infinite number of galaxies in the universe, some with a billion stars each. You are star stuff. You are a miracle. Enjoy being the miracle you are. But I didn’t tell her those things. On an impulse, I ran away and joined the circus, instead. I wanted to walk a high wire. I wanted to challenge a lion, with only a chair and a whip. I wanted to know the feeling at the very moment the flyer lets go of the trapeze and is suspended in air, vulnerable, helpless, before being saved by the catcher. I’m falling, Crystal said. Catch me, catch me.


George Dila’s short story collection Nothing More to Tell was published by  Mayapple Press in 2011. His short fiction chapbook, Working Stiffs, is forthcoming from One Wet Shoe Press in 2014. His essays and short stories have appeared in numerous journals, and won several prizes and awards. A native Detroiter, he now lives in Ludington, a small town on the Lake Michigan shore.

One thought on “In Which I Defend my Decision to Run Away and Join the Circus

  1. […] George Dila recently published a chapbook called Working Stiffs with One Wet Shoe. Plus a ton of stories, including one called “In Which I Defend My Decision to Run Away and Join the Circus” at Citron Review. […]

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