Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Black Velvet Dress

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 ...



  1. Part poem and part short-story, a sobering and pensive tale.

  2. dang...nice story telling...mmm...the things we dont know too...was it on his mind when you talked to him...did he think about it...well done....

  3. Yeah, that is a great story for sure! I don't think I would be able to wear that dress again either. It would take a lot of courage to pull it out again. Really great job you have done :)

  4. It is a compelling story, like something Hawthorne might have written, except... it's true?

    1. unfortunately Mark - it is pretty much word for word (not a usual practise for me)true ... thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting