Grief they loved, wore it in white lace over cotton and starched collars with bow ties, mauve dresses smoothed over regal behinds and Chantilly hats tipped to the side over ironed hair, black serge over six-foot legs and close-cut brilliantined hair under black number-six headband hats. They loved grief and spent every penny on it and thought it made them holy, they had each a parched well inside their chests, sacred and hungry, they went to funerals of people they did not know, they stood at grave sides looking into the despair of the mourners, their eyes became ashy with passion. They expected peril, listened for it at the window on nights without lamp oil, sat at the open door in the seven o’ clock dust and tried to make out its figure loitering or coming, affirming “hmm hmmmm” when it moved towards them; they beckoned it, sure that it was lurking, looked for it over their shoulder, their eyes only opened to see it, they stroked it, they prepared for it, laid a place for it at table. They were so vigilant they helped it by making laws they themselves could not live by; they scanned the unformed scars on their cocoa-picking, seine-pulling, cane-cutting, rum-drinking hands; they scanned the scarless flesh of their new born and wrote peril there because peril was all they were familiar with. (124)
From Brand, Dionne. In Another Place, Not Here. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 1997. Print.