Author's signed presentation copy to the Golda Meir Library. The Closets of Heaven is one of Glancy's most recently published collections of stories.
Selection from "PETER CALLS HER BACK"
Why would I come back to life?
To hear the leper's bell? To be followed by the crazy woman? To watch the waves of her hair? To see the lame? Blind? Deaf? To live without the circles of heaven I saw? Why would I want to return to this ugliness? Ugliness.
Peter has my hand; I draw it back. I want to snip off his arm, but I remember I must be polite.
There's something strange in my room. Strange. What am I doing here?
"She's alive," Peter says and looks at me like he hardly believes it himself.
I don't seem any different. I don't know what to say. What does he want? We are standing in my room, but I can't take a step because the grave clothes are bound at my feet.
The room is stark. Ugly.
I am hungry for heaven.
Peter calls the women into my room. They stand gawking at me. No one knows what to say. They are amazed I am alive.
Peter leaves the room.
One of the women helps me to sit on the bed. They undo the grave clothes. The girl stands at my side.
"I am thirsty," I say.
The girl brings my pitcher of water.
Someone hands me the tunic they left on a peg, but it is soiled. They didn't have time to wash it, they say.
I ask for the women to leave me alone. I feel if my hair is tied back like it always is. One woman stays to bring me a clean tunic. I ask the girl to leave.
Downstairs, I hear them talking to Peter. The woman helps me dress, then leaves the room also. I sit on the bed. I want to cry, but I will not let the tears run down my face. We don't always get to do what we want, I tell myself. But I am hungry. The first time I was going someplace, I was returned to Joppa.
I am bothered by the ugliness for a few days. I can't tell them what I see, but there are lovely clouds over Joppa, like the underside of heaven. And there are ships spinning on the ocean, and sewing, yes, sewing.
At first, the world does not seem to fit. But I sew the city. Whole worlds in my hands.
From The Closets of Heaven (1999). Used with permission of the author.
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