Epiphanie Mukasano

The perfect juggler

When comes the time to define herself, the words hide themselves. She feels scared like she has never before. Death itself becomes less ugly.

She sits and finds herself panting even before she throws the first ball. Then one, two, three, the juggling starts. How many balls? How many colours? Maybe a dozen, maybe more. She always wants perfection.

Blue ball in the air for the perfect mother, the mother of perfection, spreading her perfume of love around her. Always feeling guilty even when things get beyond her control. With no certificate, she has to adjudicate in the squabbles that are forever arising.

Red ball in the air, for the perfect wife, unselfish, erasing herself for him to be. Nostrils wide open to smell her perfume of love.

Green ball in the air, for the perfect house wife. Clean shack, clean pots, clean rags, made beds. Last to sleep, first to get up in the morning, a beaming smile on her face.

Orange ball in the air for the perfect breadwinner. Love smells stale when the stomachs are empty.

Pink ball in the air for friendship. She must chop her heart to satisfy the many hands waiting to be served. None is to be hurt or treated unfairly.

White ball in the air. Apprentice, she needs to be a perfect writer. She cannot allow herself to stumble. The spelling must be right. Each sentence well said. Punctuation must be right. A ballad is a ballad, not a ghazal. A ghazal is not a haiku. She needs to know the rules and follow them.

She must be true to herself. She has to find the right song, the rhythm that will sustain her balance. None is to touch the ground even if the juggler is left breathless. So many balls in the air.

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