Jean Jacket

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 24, 2018

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Submitted: August 24, 2018



Jean Jacket

By Katie Rae Newbaum




There’s an empty road and endless clouds

And a certainty that I am lost

I see no one but don’t feel alone

The longing to speak to her always catches at my throat

I call out her name, the one I never called her

The bubble at my larynx gets my eyes wet

The dull pain of aged loss melts over my skin like wax

I wear my grief like an old jean jacket


The wind picks up and swirls my hair, making me smile

There’s a chill and I grip the sleeves with my fingers, pulling them down

My heart beats faster

Who was I before?

I wonder if I’d recognize my former self at the store

Would I stop? Would she?

I can’t quite remember me


The hard sand beneath my feet has deep cracks

Like the wrinkles of an ancient willow tree

I could follow one of them

Hope it takes me towards some wisdom

I suppose I should get going

Towards water or food or another person

I think these things but do not move

I call out her name again but this time call her Mom


The wind as if frustrated with my trepidation whips through my hair again

This time with such force that when I put the strands back behind my ears

I am facing a new direction

I go back to grip my sleeves

I hate this fucking jacket

Or I want to hate it

To burn it

To pretend I never got it in the first place

To tear it to pieces - cut it up with kitchen shears

But the truth is sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps me warm

It smells like memories and moth balls

It is a gift of love and an inheritance of tragedy

It is bittersweet when it appears on my skin


That woman had her hair

I smelled her perfume

I saw a butterfly

My reflection looked just like her

And once again I’m wearing that damn jacket


The somewhere I long for is close

I know if I could just get going

What’s holding me back?

The wind still wants me to move

It blows at my back

Hard enough I can lean against it

My toes rise up and I am resting on me heels

This gust could stop and drop me to the hard cracked ground if it wanted to

But instead it holds me cradled in between

Until I decide I’m ready

To put down my toes and stand sturdy


The metaphor is not lost on me and I start to giggle

My wind hammock holds me up

As my laughs rock me back and forth

As they become more violent and upheaving

As they turn to sobs

I look down and see the evidence of teardrops on my sleeve

Like it finally rained in this desert

Good thing I have this jacket


I think I’m ready

And the wind takes my wordless cue

It pushes me forward and my toes reconnect with the earth

One foot releases and

The next foot follows and

It turns out I know how to move forward


I look back to thank the wind

But my voice startles me as it calls out her name once more

I have goosebumps

I pull the collar up on this good ol’ jean jacket

I smell her perfume

I carry on


© Copyright 2018 Katie Rae Newbaum. All rights reserved.

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