The Circus of Shadows

Walking up a concrete hill on the way home from school. 

The sun beams against my back. 

Creating a shadow darker than my caramel skin. 

It follows my footsteps and the subtle bob of my head. 

                                  It grows when I get close and shrinks when I move back. 

Thinning when the glare is too harsh. 

She's flexible. 

Oh, how useful it is. 

She can change to whatever situation I need. 


I believe my shadow is a part-time circus performer. 

A contortionist of my greatest fears.  

Leaving in the depths of night, where no light shines. 

To perform to a crowd of those who broke me. 

She forms to the sounds of their laughter. 

Behind her is a projection screen large enough for everyone to see. 

She clicks the buttons, and they watch it playback all of her darkest memories. 

She looks up at my stained face, my tears dripping on her silhouette. 

She watches my head hang low during that walk back to the hotel after leaving the one I love. 

The puddles below ruining her raven dress.  

She watches as a knife hovers above my arm, ready to end it alI.

I take a deep breath.

The projector turns off. 

The room turns black. 

And I am with my shadow again.  

I am the clown here. 

My problems entangle themselves in the curls that lay on my head, 

that everyone wants to dig their fingers into without asking. 

I smile a red painted smile and nod my head to their praise that I am undeserving of. 

Because I have made the choice to be a character that people laugh at.  

That person that makes everyone smile.

Though when the lights come on only one thing remains. 

A shadow in a human cage.


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