the rites for Cousin Vit

Carried her unprotesting out the door.
Kicked back the casket-stand. But it can't hold her,
That stuff and satin aiming to enfold her,
The lid's contrition nor the bolts before.
Oh oh. Too much. Too much. Even now, surmise,
She rises in the sunshine. There she goes,
Back to the bars she knew and the repose
In love-rooms and the things in people's eyes.
Too vital and too squeaking. Must emerge.
Even now she does the snake-hips with a hiss,
Slops the bad wine across her shantung, talks
Of pregnancy, guitars and bridgework, walks
In parks or alleys, comes haply on the verge
Of happiness, haply hysterics. Is.

Gwendolyn Brooks, "the rites for Cousin Vit" from Blacks. Copyright © 1994
 by Gwendolyn Brooks.  Reprinted by permission of Estate of Gwendolyn Brooks.
Source: The Norton Anthology of Poetry Fifth Edition (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 2005)
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