15. The Perfect Dress

I went to my small town’s lone department store

to shop for the perfect dress to wear to Mom’s

impending funeral. Best be prepared.


So, black. Each dress looked like something

for a cocktail party or a political rally.

I already own three black dresses — all hers.

I can’t wear those.


My kids are already set:

A formal band outfit suits my son,

A dress for the cast photo dresses my daughter.

We all have Sunday shoes,


though we can’t seem to make it to church

anymore. Then a dress catches my eye:

lace bodice, swoopy skirt. Brown.


The color of Mom’s morning lattés.

The color of the soil around her impatiens.

The color of her Cadillac.


The cashier announces the store is closing.

Mom would want me to wait

for the perfect dress to go on sale.

Go right ahead.

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