Poetry / September 2015 (Issue 29)

Instructions for the Housewarming Party

by Regine Cabato

Hang the bagua in an appropriate place. Position the mirror
to reflect the shapes of the eight traits. For example, the grandfather

clock in the living room. Its shape assuming that
of a family: tall, narrow, upright. Place a pink sheet

over the mattress. You must avoid glue and the workshop. Hang
the piece for his career there. Leave the piece for marriage

in the kitchen. Remove all artwork depicting wild animals, save one dragon
but make sure he is in the same room as the phoenix. Do not

let the pearl in his claw face the window or door. Open all the windows
in the room where the grandfather died. Feed his ghost by leaving

a trail of rice leading outside, so he evacuates the house. When
the guests arrive, bow politely. Keep your posture; do not dwell

on the absence of your husband. Be careful not to give yourself
away. Make sure all windows and doors close easily.

When the party is over, sweep all dust inward until
it reaches the center of the house. It will bring you luck.
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