“Dark the oceans, dark the sky, Hush the whales and the ocean tide, Tell the salt marsh and beat on your drum, Gone their master, gone their son, Dark to light and light to dark, Three black carriages, three white carts, What brings us together is what pulls us apart, Gone our brother, gone our heart.”

There’s a gray dress that hangs in my closet. Not hidden. Not lost. No it just hangs there in plain sight, reminding me, haunting me. And there it remains. Watching me. Untouchable yet present.

It’s not an ugly gray dress. It’s more nondescript than anything. The kind of gray you forget exists until you see smog polluting the air. Or rain clouds before the threat of a thunderstorm. The type of gray you could pass by a thousand times without notice. It’s only saving grace, a black button adorning the neck: uniting the collar and providing appeal.

I’ve worn the dress twice. All the same, I’ll never wear it again. Even more, I won’t throw it away.

You see, I buried my brother in that dress. “Buried” is the wrong word for the mockery of a funeral that was held for the parting of a beloved. “Buried” implies that my brothers body rests somewhere in hallowed ground, where you can visit to mourn and reminisce.

I guess I should say I wore the dress the last time I saw my brother. “Saw” also seems off in this context. It would make one think that the seeing was mutual; as if there was a capacity to be seen as well as to see.

A more apt way to describe this last porting would be to say the final memory of my brother’s lifeless body was in this dress. A gray dress with a black cardigan on one of Arizona’s hottest days.

I dressed as if I needed to make an impression on such a somber occasion. I dressed with the hope that death didn’t warrant such drab attire.

I remember falling, wailing— a pool of gray abyss. A chill transmitted from trying to warm a corpse. A piece of myself dying along with the death I felt in my brother.

You always think you have more time. Ultimately when everything is taken away, you’re left with an unwearable gray dress.


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