A Tale of Black Friday

In the early 1950s
on the day after Thanksgiving
kicking off the holiday season
there had been so many shoppers
in downtown Philadelphia
celebrating sale prices,
overflowing the streets
bunched together in stores
like a flock of blackbirds
they took on the appearance
of darkness
and the day became known as
Black Friday.
When I was a child
my mother told me this.

Later I heard it said that the numbers
on retailers’ balance sheets
shifted from red to black
with the increase in sales,
became profitable
based on that one fruitful day,
hence— Black Friday.

In 2022, Black Friday—
a frenzy of customers returns
signaling a possible comeback
for in-person shopping
after the pandemic
had all but ceased the flow of that river.
With the reappearance of buyers
darkening commercial spaces,
the business world rides the wave,
even in the midst of our fragile economy.

About the Poem

Black Friday is a term I have heard all of my life. I have been caught up in the excitement of sales, deals, and crowds trying to take advantage of this unofficial start to the holiday shopping season.

About the Author

Lois Perch Villemaire is originally from Philadelphia and resides in Annapolis, MD, inspired by the charm of a colonial town and the glorious Chesapeake Bay. After retirement from a career in local government, she concentrated on her love of writing. Researching in family history led to memoir and creative nonfiction. Her prose and poetry have appeared in a number of journals and have been included in several anthologies. Lois was a finalist in the 2021 Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry. She enjoys yoga practice, amateur photography, and raising African violets.

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