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Jami Tillis

“This Is Gonna Hurt Me

more than it hurts you,”
is what Mama used to say
when I misbehaved or didn’t
listen to the admonition I was
given by my “loved ones.”
After the lashing, I fell fast
asleep. Before the lashing,
I pretended to be asleep—
attempting to escape hurting
Mama more than she hurt me,
as she said, my brother
giggling like a little school
girl and, to my surprise, my
Grandma too. There are two
sides to every story, and I wasn’t
always wrong, like when my Peeps
were tossed into the wind from
a moving car because McDonald’s
wasn’t junk food and my Peeps were.

* * *

“This Is Gonna Hurt Me” by Jami Tillis comes from her 2014 chapbook In Bold Blackness: Selections published by Crisis Chronicles Press.

Jami Tillis is 24 years old. She graduated from Northeastern Illinois University in May 2012. Her field of study is Secondary Education with a concentration in English and history. In college, she belonged to a variety of groups—Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society, and Pi Alpha Theta History Honors Society.

Jami has a 6 year old daughter named Chayse who is her current inspiration for writing. “All of my poetry and other written works are derived from real life experiences that I have witnessed and survived before and after she came along.”

Jami lives in Chicago and works as a 5th and 6th grade reading and writing teacher in Chicago Public Schools.

In Bold Blackness cover image

Cover features a Steven Smith photo of an Edward McKnight Kauffer illustration in the Borzoi Poe