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Circus Woman
Submitted by: Nkiru Njoku
I'm trapped in this cage.

my husband is my keeper and master,

who brandishes his whip to keep me in check.

my children are my ever willing audience,

whose satisfaction is my primary purpose.

will I ever get out of this cage?

I have sacrificed myself; body, heart and soul;

my dreams, I have dreamed and discarded,

my youthful visions are piled high in the dumps,

the fire of my aspirations has been put out by

the flood of my reality...

this same flood that sweeps me away by the day.

in this cage I do my act;

leaping, dancing in time with my master's whip...

my audience cheering me along if they are pleased.

I'm twirling, twisting, leaping through hoops...

walking wires, dancing through fire...

then the show is over.

I'm lying in a heap on the floor of my cage

aching muscles, throat screaming for water

the deed is done,

my master is happy,

my audience;satisfied...

but I am she who feels the pain.

'no pain, no gain' you say?

thank you very much,

but what have I gained for me

besides an aching back and a broken spirit?

and tomorrow, I'll start my act all over again...

the show is never over for me.

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