By Estrella Gada


Mama did not teach me how to wait for you, Fedo mi,
She only told me to wait.
And so I waited.

She packed my skin and my lips
My eyes and my hips
My youth and my innocence
Into waiting.
And so I waited.

Waiting stretched my body taunt with anxiety,
Waiting colored me zigzag like misplaced stretch marks;
Waiting branded me with its searing essence
Until they could smell me coming
Even when I had not yet rounded the corner;

I tattooed waiting in my breath
The ink of it left burn marks on the ones who came before you
They saw me waiting in my eyes
And took off to chase a less bleak sunrise.

Fedo mi, mama did not teach me how to wait for you
So when you came with softness in the fabric of your speech
And gentleness in the webby pads of your fingers
I took out my soul and laid it at your feet.

Mama only told me “never love a man whole,
Because his love would be so small
It would be swallowed up by yours.”
But your love swallowed me alive.
You unpacked me piece by piece
And breath by breath
Until waiting was a distant din,
In the corners of my mind.

Fedo Mi, I waited for you
And it made it worthwhile when you said
You had been waiting for me too…


Estrella Gada is an alumni of the Farafina creative writing workshop facilitated by Chimamanda Adichie and has won several poetry competitions including the Eriata Oribhabor Poetry prize. She is also a spoken word artist in the making and lends her acting abilities out from time to time. Her major loves are natural hair, women empowerment, music and dance.

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