Ψυχοσαββατο − Soul Saturday

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Vicky Tsaconas

There are three. They mark the period leading up to Lent. Today is the last − forty days before Easter.

I wait for my mother and her sister outside church. They go to every ψυχοσαββατο. To commemorate our dead. The night before, Mum prepares κολυβα a mix of boiled wheat, bread crumbs, walnuts, sesame seeds and sultanas covered by a layer of icing sugar and decorated with slivered almonds, puts the προσφορο she has bought from the bakery next to her bag so as not to forget it and writes a list of the dead.

Yesterday, she added the name Γεωργια, her oldest sister. Γεωργια died on Wednesday. She had been bed-bound for the last two years, bound by her atrophied brain for many before that. Unable to speak, comprehend, eat, see from one eye, control bladder and bowels. We heard from people who returned to Βρονταµα that her bones had perforated, that she was given nourishment through a syringe, that she lay on her bed σαν κουβαρακι − like a little ball of string.

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Περσεφόνη in between

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Vicky Tsaconas

king of death, curly hair and eyes
as black as salty olives,
you abduct me at dawn
when I am dreaming of carousels
and strawberry ice cream,
filch me away to the serrated tip
of Πελοπόννησο −

mummified home of my
ancestors

in your grotto tomb we celebrate
our wedding – κολυβα chiffoned
with icing sugar the colour of my dress
and bejewelled with your gift, silver almond earrings,
while my mother − saint’s relic head

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