Chapter 4 Po

World upon world opened to Amaris Dahia. But one world remained beyond her grasp. She lacked the companionship of a true friend. She would begin the ritual dance of intimacy with this girl or that boy, only to watch helplessly as each of them would soon depart the caravan, never to return. This unhappy circumstance could be traced to the curious life that is the performer's lot. They are vagabonds by nature. At the core of their existence, they long to be where they are not, always chasing after the ultimate audience, the perfect performance.

So performers and their families would stay with the caravan for a season, then become restless and take to the road in search of their elusive dreams. For Amaris Dahia, who was now eleven, this meant that her dreams were filled with loneliness.

Then she met Po.

Po emerged one day, out of the chill morning fog like an apparition in a fairy story. She was sitting beside her father in a donkey cart. In the back of the cart sat two wooden cages inhabited by six Senegalese parrots, fluttering, pecking and gossiping without end. Po's black skin glistened under brightly colored robes. Her hair hung in beaded braids from her head.