The Week’s Events

John Hollander

She said, affably, ‘Calm next Mahnday,’
Indicating that his pants would be ready by then,
But nonetheless unwittingly invoking a mysterious occasion,
Which, on ultimate reflection, appeared to be a sort
Of centennial celebration for the author of Joseph and His Brothers
And other works, even as it eventually turned out not to be.

‘Let’s have lunch on Tuesday,’ suggested Dubble-Barrell (he
Pronounced it ‘Jewsday’, as if there had been inserted into the medieval calendar
Another liturgical day, devoted to violent expressions of rage
Against an unfortunate race, ungracious
In its refusals of redemption, tiresome in its endless
Ability to elicit persecution from the peoples of the West and elsewhere).

Brenda-Sue yawned; and – in the modern manner of turning
With a rising tone an uneasily-maintained assertion (like
‘Ahm Brenda-Sue?’)
Into an unspecifically directed inquiry – opined
‘At thee-us tahm of day, it’s ohlways somehow Whensy,’
And knowing well the urgencies of busy morning when it is always nowsy
As well as having catalogued the nostalgias which are all so
Thensy, we could not but agree.

‘Duh whole fuggin ding’s godda be done by Daysday,’ menaced
The not-uncriminally-connected owner of the fleet of trucks,
And one continued to appreciate the openness
Of the term of the implied contract, as well as, indeed,
The grim closure by which the due date could be heard
To fall on any day, any day at all.

‘Ay don’t feel thet ay could be theah before Frayday,’ said the solicitor
Whose accent we deplored, but whose keen perception
Of the nature of the weekend – its hasty preparations, the rubbish
Of the unattended-to, the battle for tied position among
All the various loose ends – we could only,
No matter how inadvertent it had been, admire.

‘Ull come along on Sadday,’ said the local who was to help
With the haying; but we could not be sure whether the mood
Of the day of his arrival would be occasioned by – or would,
Indeed, elicit – his appearance, or whether, in any case,
The prediction of that arrival was a threat or a promise.

He thought for a while – or at least appeared to think,
Perhaps in response to what we imagined he’ d imagined to be our dilemma
Over the problematics of what he had so casually
Called ‘Sadday’ – then revised his statement:
‘Ull come along on Cindy,’ he finally announced,
Not intending to violate a sabbath however ironically
Designated but merely invoking the name of his mule.