Better than Helium

Ever swallowed helium, that stuff that fills balloons?

I haven’t, but I imagine it makes you buoyant enough to float.

You’d be up in the air without nothing to drag you down,

Not the hardship of making a living under a closed sky

Not the terror that stomps the earth with bombs and bullets in its wake.


I do not need helium to float,

All it takes is that smile that is my reflection in your eyes.

Or the way you say my name, like a caress.

Or the way your eyes linger on my face.

Or when you call me nwanyi oma.


When I think of you, every other minute.

My smile threatens to split my face but my mouth feels like cotton wool

I want to live inside your skin sometimes, all the time.

I want to walk with you until our legs collapse beneath us,

I don’t know if you know you are the one who makes my heart pound.



Remember when you tenderly wiped my smeared red lipstick,

How you looked in my eyes and we knew,

The knowledge fluttering like a cascade of glittering stars,

It is you I had waited for.

I am the one you were looking for.



  1. Hi Adaeze,

    I LOVE love. I imagined that the smeared lipstick was red, a bright crimson shade. 🙂

    Well written, as usual. Nne, the way you waltz smoothly with words…

    PS: When I learned that Elechi Amadi passed away today, for some reason my mind went to you. Then I remembered why, you once mentioned something about passing by Cyprian Ekwensi’s house. I always place the literary greats in the same section of my brain.


    1. I didn’t put the colour?! I forgot!
      Definitely crimson, will edit.
      I’d been offline all day and I saw it five minutes ago and it hit me hard, my literary heroes are disappearing too fast.


  2. Awww, my closet romantic is threatening to break free. It’s a fantastic story and I mewled at the end. That’s a fantastic thing by the way. Hugs.


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