I once bought a shirt for a dead man
at J. Brandenburg’s in the mall.
A lively, noisy crowd
cheerfully jostled for pre-Easter bargains.
I looked through the racks
of medium-sized shirts,
imagining the curious stares of those around
the woman shopping for a dead man.
I searched for a casual shirt,
maybe a little dressy but
he always said
he’d never wear a tie,
not even to his own funeral.
I picked out a striped one, short-sleeved,
the weather’s been warm
for this time of year.
Two women laughed and talked beside me.
“Oh, I could have died!”
the dark-haired one giggled,
bumped into me.
The cashier was vibrant.
“What a lovely shirt! Is it a gift?”
I nodded yes, “For my brother.”
She removed the price tag so he wouldn’t see it,
and folded the shirt carefully into a bag.
Tomorrow his friends will pause
at the casket and remark how
this shirt is the color of his eyes.