The Mourning Dress
His RV idled at the museum’s meandering rock wall.
The visitor said he had stored the gift in his Oregon
garage. Never took it out of the box so he asked
me to hold the dress up for him. The one worn
by a great granny way back when. She mid-
wifed and tended to men during the feud.
is the rich embroidery swirled down the bodice
and around the bottom. And it was lined maybe
so the wool wouldn’t scratch. The note said the buttons
had been replaced and I noticed the machine sewn
hemline. Two women had worn the mourning dress,
perhaps one for the other. A remnant full of black.
She caught babies in her arms over a century ago.
I hold her intricate dress in mine like it is a child.