(Originally published in the Hawaii Pacific Review, Hawaii Pacific University, Vol. 14, 2000.)
The Week of Harsh Holidays
Sunday: The Weatherman’s Holiday
In classical times this was the day
men consummated a threat and the season
changed. Bitter men call this Revenge Day.
Greeting cards are expected.
Monday: The Day of The Atoned Rock
Candles burn. Prayers end
with a name. Young girls secretly
relish this day: the possibility of aftermath.
Tuesday: Adulteress’s Day
Who wears a blindfold?
Who’s ear is cut off? Anonymous gifts.
Wednesday: The Festival of Catastrophe
Windows are covered with red crepe paper.
Babies born this day are named after hurricanes.
Lavish parties and dances are held.
Only fast music is played. When this holiday falls
on an even date people buy blankets.
Thursday: The Assassin’s Carnival
Parties and dances are also held,
though the music is louder. Promises are made.
Gifts are exchanged. Imagination
is under siege. Doors must remain open after
dark, even if no one is home.
Friday: Electrician’s Birthday
Only two traditions are practiced.
From midnight to midnight sleeping
is forbidden. What people do to stay awake
is unique. Written confessions
are sealed and left with relatives.
Saturday: The Biographer’s Sabbath.
Nothing to do with memoirs or survivors.
Families eat breakfast together. By noon,
a sigh of pity. Men are given a chance
to change their names. The lambs
are slaughtered for dinner.