This article is taken from Stand 221, 17(1) March - May 2019.

Nukila Amal Stopping in at the Circus
Translated by Toni Pollard
Stopping in at the Circus

She stepped out from under the shade of the kapok tree and there she was, at the entrance to the circus.

It was impossible for this first encounter to be any other way. This was where she was meant to be. She could hear the tumult of the crowd and the music in the distance. And see the colours.

A guard was leaning against his wooden guard post. He scrutinised her for a moment, as if he were doubtful about her.

‘I can tell you’re a dancer from the shape of your skull. Or a detective. Here take this’. A ticket landed in her hand.

‘Or maybe a nun?’

She didn’t respond because she wasn’t any of these things. Her fingers touched the peeling wood of the entry gate, feeling that the place held some secret or magic.

So many choices. She had never been to a circus before and had no idea where to start.

She walked over to the crowd. There were sweaty people carrying sweaty children who were shrieking or crying. She could hear the barrel organ playing, mingled with the roar of the diesel engine. She inspected posters for the performances; she looked at the fluttering flags, and listened to the barkers outside the tents and wooden huts.

She headed for the magician’s tent and bought a ticket while she studied the poster of a mysterious black silhouette shrouded by white clouds. It ...
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