On which she embroidered fantails once,
And spread it so as to cover her face.
Cover her dead body with a sheet she embroidered while she was alive. The fact that the woman did her own embroidery indicates her low economic status; people of any means at all did not do their own needlework.
The “fantails” probably relate to the peacocks found elsewhere in Stevens' early poems (particularly “Anecdote of the Prince of Peacocks” and “Domination of Black”), in which they’re associated with both the vibrancy and violence of life and the dread of death.
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