The World Book
When the woman in blue serge held up the sun, my mother opened the storm door, taking the whole volume of S into her hands. The sun shown as a sun should, and we sat down at the table leafing through silks and ships, saints and subtraction. We passed Scotland and Spain, street- cars and seeds and even the Seven Wonders until the woman who owned them skipped to the solar system and said it could be ours. My mother thought, as I held my breath, and while she was writing the check for everything, A through Z, I noticed the room with its stove and saucers and spoons. I was wearing a sweater and skirt and shoes and there at the window the sun was almost as clear as it was in the diagram where its sunspots, ninety-three million miles from the earth and only a page from Sumatra, were swirling. The woman stood up, slamming it shut, and drove down the street to leave us in Saginaw, where I would wait for the world to arrive. And each morning, walking to school, I believed in the day it would come, when we’d study Sweden or stars and I’d stand at the head of the classroom and take the words of the world from my satchel, explaining the secrets.
Copyright © 2003 Patricia Hooper. From Aristotle’s Garden (Bluestem Press, 2003) by Patricia Hooper. Used with permission of the author.