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Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 9.29.15 PM

When I said I was leaving you
What I really meant was:
I am afraid of heights.
My body once survived a plane crash,
so you shouldn’t have swept me off my feet,
I still fear anything that requires me to be lifted from the ground.

I have spent the past few days berating myself,
reminiscing about how we spent most nights laughing till the
back of our ears hurt until our voices turned into silent squeals
Reminiscing about how ensconced we felt in the safety net of our arms,
in the knowing that our souls felt like Siamese twins

But, I am still here,
using my uncertainties to power an engine of
excuses for why we never made it past here.

When I said I was leaving you
What I really meant was:
My past is a magnet that attracts me to emergency exit doors.
So do not over examine the footprints I’ll be leaving behind
or worry about the height I’ll be falling from,
I always have a parachute hidden inside my mouth just in case.

When I said I was leaving you
What I really meant was:
I place expiry dates on lovers who travel into my life
and you have reached the end of your visitation period

When I said I was leaving you
What I really meant was:
I am a runway
I love the view of men taking off from me

When I said I was leaving you
What I really meant was:
I am scared.
I am afraid of heights,
so you can take off without me.



Post image titled Ijeoma I & II, 2013 by Duke Asidere via African Digital Art


About the Author:

Portrait - LolaTheresa Lola is a Nigerian British Poet residing in London. She first gained recognition with her poem “Bring Back Our Girls” about the Boko Haram kidnapping of the 300 girls from Chibok which garnered international responses. Her poems are mostly centered around love, loss, womanhood, race and culture. In the 2014, she was published in the anthology Essence of Love.

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

7 Responses to “When I Said I Was Leaving You | Theresa Lola | African Poetry” Subscribe

  1. Oluwaseyi G. Abidoye September 18, 2015 at 3:51 am #

    More like a conversation, very linear and up to the point. Simple, yet gives concerns for deeper thoughts than the surface proffers. Reading every line makes one wonder, and keep going till the end. Am I trying to see suspense in poetry here, maybe, but this poem is deeper than it seems, and I like it. Good work Lola.

  2. Zainab September 18, 2015 at 3:57 am #

    Absolutely love this poem. Worth the read.

  3. September 24, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    Love it! well written and just love when i can feel a poem/text if that makes sense 🙂

  4. Eletu Ajarat September 25, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    I love this. Really touching.

  5. Oge September 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

    lolzz…beautifully written. reminds me of someone i met recently.

  6. obakanse lakanse September 1, 2016 at 2:18 am #

    Deserves all the comments she has got,and more.

  7. Mercy Williams January 2, 2017 at 10:17 am #


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