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When someone dies,

don’t take down the funeral program

that your mother has hung in your room

in such a visible place

that every morning when you wake up

to another day

on this side of life

you have to look at it

and think of how many-





have passed since the last time

you looked the woman in that photo

in the eyes.

Don’t accidentally delete the last voice message

you recorded

of her singing that song

that you got so tired

of her singing.

You’ll be left with days

when you’re longing to hear

that voice,

that song,

the way she hit every note,

the last note

that trailed off

into some other place

that no one else

could see at the time-

but she felt.

Don’t listen to the last voicemail

he left you

two months before Valentine’s Day

when he called just to talk

but you were too occupied

talking to someone else

who is also no longer in your life.

Don’t read the last text message

where he invited you to

come see him

but you declined,

thinking that you had more time.

Don’t try to think back

to all the times when

you should’ve said yes,

picked up the phone,

bought that plane ticket,

or randomly checked in.

You’ll feel like a horrible person

who took





for granted.


Tiye Naeemah Cort was born and raised in Boston, MA. She finds writing inspiration in everything from her home and family to the random ideas she gets while stuck in traffic. She loves to travel, her favorite color is pink, and she really does like long walks on the beach. You can find her writing everywhere from contributed academic book chapters to op-eds on Blavity. Tiye is a true multi-hyphenate as an adjunct professor, doctoral student, writer, abstract artist, and business owner. She is the founder and global editor-in-chief of Feminessay, the premier online writing, storytelling, and creative destination for Black women to share their literary works with a worldwide audience.


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