“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.

9 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. 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. 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

Comments are closed.