“On Your Birthday” by Christy Anna Jones

You wore a red cable knit sweater shortly before you died,
it was one of your favorites.
I have photograph after photograph of you wearing it,
each one a different memory I turn to for warmth.

The red of the sweater always brought out the strawberry highlights in your hair
lighter and brighter as the summer wore on.
Even when you stopped coloring your hair
your silver strands still reflected its red glow.

The day after you died, I took your sweater from where it had been casually tossed
and I inhaled deeply.
You smelled clean — of Dove soap and soft musk.
And in one single moment a thousand memories of you brought me to my knees.

I folded up your sweater
with care and reverence
and I sealed it in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag
so I would always have it to remind me.

On your birthday I took it down from the top shelf in my closet.
I unzipped the bag–carefully and only by an inch–
lowering my nose into the bag as my body lowered to the floor,
those memories again bringing me to my knees.

Quickly, I sealed the bag shut, feeling guilty and regretful,
afraid I had lost your scent forever.
As if that were even possible.
As if I could ever forget your smell.

Like home.
Like love.
Like safety.
Like Dove soap and soft musk.


* “On Your Birthday” by Christy Anna Jones via The Shine Journal: The Light Left Behind.

15 thoughts on ““On Your Birthday” by Christy Anna Jones

  1. mishedup

    and an admission, not poetic but…
    i have an old deodorant in my cupboard, 10 years on.
    And an old fleece sweatshirt., not mine..suitable only for a very cold day.
    at least once during the winter i swipe one with the other, and wear it.
    Warm it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can see each part of that wordless exchange as it happened. This is so beautiful and so true. It’s amazing how your senses come alive when you think on a person that means the world to you.

    You are sublime.

    Peace and love to you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, what a surprise. I didn’t even know you read these posts. You have no idea how much your note means, thank you. I almost didn’t publish this…felt selfish, but mostly felt scary. I’m glad I did though. My little way of saying, “Happy Birthday, Mom.”

      Thank you again. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh C, you had to publish this. It’s beautifully written and it conveys exactly what you felt in those moments. I apologize, I don’t have this blog on my roll at Drinks. That’s how I check out my peeps. I don’t do the email notifications and I do not trust the reader, so the roll gets me to the peeps I read. I am a simple man.

        And you, ‘ma dear, are a uniquely talented writer.

        Mom would be proud.


  3. One of my favorites…and a stark reminder why winter solstice was picking at my brain yesterday. I knew I was missing something important of yours. I’m so sorry I missed her birthday. Thank you for leading me here and opening this gift.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Even after I sent the picture of burnt rolls, I thought to myself…she doesn’t need to see that minutiae! It’s my way of having you over for dinner. I’m so glad it made you smile. And yes – the whole gang of mad geniuses! Meant to be. xo


    1. Pamela has gathered some beautiful work at The Shine Journal. And she was so lovely to work with, even pushing my pieces out immediately instead of making me wait for the next season’s schedule.

      It’s a good place to read, meditate and heal. So many people working through grief, and using poetry to heal and help others. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

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