My only designer dress
Is fully lined, black velvet
With a gathered full, knee-length skirt
Blouson sleeves that button at the wrist
A shirt-finished collar and tiny buttons
From waist to neck-line, spaced discreetly
To give the appearance of slits in the bodice
It is dignified, elegant and slightly sexy
All at the same time ...
And while I bought it for choir performances
And other formal occasions, I knew the moment
I tried it on - it would make a perfect funeral dress
In fact one day at my shrink's, while waiting for him
in his inner office perusing some snapshots
just picked up at one hour photo—
I had just found some of me in "the dress"
When he arrived and asked if he could see ...
He made admiring comments about the dress;
I mentioned it was my funeral dress and I remember
We had quite a conversation about that - how seldom
People wore formal attire to funerals these days,
Rarer still did they where black; he liked the idea
Of me having a funeral dress -
Jokingly I told him
If he died before I did,
I'd wear it to his
Little did I know that less than six months later
I would don that dress for the final time—
It was the last time I could bear to wear it—
As I attended his memorial ...
and that was days
Before I learned he had taken his own life ...
I might not have worn the dress then
Had I known that salient detail
I still have the dress, in fact, still love it, but
It hangs limply in the back of my closet ...
A cruel reminder of how life can change on a dime
And beautiful formal black funeral dresses don't
Guarantee beautiful predictable futures ...