Poetry Staff Blog Posts

To Oriana — My Aaliyah

A Poem by Tomicia Blunt


I think about you a lot more here

it doesn’t hurt as much to say your name

to remember


I have a lot of your pictures on the wall

they seem like broken memories


I didn’t understand the importance of the picture

            it’s ability to capture life

            that can only be lived once.

It never feels real

when I linger on my thoughts of you

thoughts, memories, anecdotes,

but you always feel near

so close

still here


I look at doors and imagine what it would be like if you walked in

you walk into my dreams though

hugging me

consoling me

call me sister one more time

do your ugly laugh one more time

ask me to borrow a pair of my socks

because your Barney Rubble feet are cold

make my room smell like weed for a week

like you always do when you visit


when you left you rocked the boat

upset the tide

we all cried


Aaliyah’s plane didn’t get to land

I wish we could’ve buried you in foreign sand


as pure as your heart was

compassionate, kind, carefree



saying your name is like stepping on holy ground


I miss you in the words that come from my mouth

and rebury you when it closes


I’m nervous to summon your memory

to relive

to accept


watch over mom

she misses you

mourns you

and she misses me because I’m away

and your gone

and those distances get blurred

777.5 mi = 6ft (under)

she cries

and I can’t wipe her tears

she feels alone

and I can’t hold her


and she cannot swim


but I know you’re with me

and you love her

so i’ll write you a four page letter

and i’ll look for you

in every Aaliyah lyric

every Ashanti music video

every Ciara 1, 2 step

every video girl

every bad bitch

bamboo hoops

acrylic nails

straight weave

popped gloss

tongue, belly, ear, nose piercing

every carefree black girl


there is no doubt i won’t miss you for a lifetime

but when I get sad

I’ll dust myself off

remember the good times

our sisterhood

and Try Again


Artist Note:

            Seven months ago I lost my sister and I haven’t been able to write about her since it happened. I reminisced in my head here and there, but I wouldn’t linger too hard because it hurt. I’d console my mom to the best of my ability, I couldn’t even console myself. I attempted to maintain a state of normalcy. If I wasn’t forced to think about her or her death, I could continue on in my daily life. I wouldn’t be so affected — but every Friday after it, I stayed home. Too exhausted. Every time I came home— I felt it. The sadness founded in the loss of her. Every check-in text — I had to remember. Saying I’m doing okay even though my answer was founded in my quest to act as if it didn’t happen. Seven months later and I can share stories about her— I have yet to explain why I use past tense. I have more pictures of her on my wall— I want them there. I may get a tattoo to remember our bond— I have lifetime to create a new normal

By Wetlands Magazine

Wetlands Magazine is the University of Puget Sound campus publication dedicated to the critical interrogation of gender, sexuality, ability, age, class, race, embodiment, intersectional identities and social justice as well as the celebration of related art, poetry, literature and performance.

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