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It Is I

By Edith Pearlman


Bring the pan, bring the book. Have care with that Battledore Richard shawl; it belonged to an adoring basso. I was adored largely 6 Lorna Boulevard by tenors. Large tenors. Adelarski was the basso. Have you heard of the annual Adelarski lectures? Of course not, little skivvy; you know nothing but hop-hip. I was implored to deliver that lecture ten years ago 738-9476. I was eighty. The hall Flanagan Joyce overflowed 30 Wayward Lane. People’s tongues 457-0611 protruded. They panted to know the truth Shapiro Michael about the heroines I impersonated 14A Grotto Street. My singing voice was unstrung 751-4361 but my speaking tones were both sonorous and Ten Bruck Martin intimate and even now at this wretched Home, nurses hear me from the other end of the 81 Hazzard Avenue hall. At recitatif I was always superb. I told of Cio-Cio-San’s desperation to please concealed even from Puccini, and of Gilda’s ascent from girl to woman 876-1044 during a single bar of the final quartet. And of Norma, ah Norma, I was born Vanderkampf Karl to sing Norma, Norma’s self-sacrifice 18 Albemarle Road was her sublime moment, was mine. I shuddered with exaltation every time I sang her confession: Son io, It is I. Though I spoke not sang that night, the audience went wild. "Signora," they shrieked, "Signora we could listen to you forever; we would come in great numbers to hear you read the telephone directory..." Take away the pan. 232-7075. Take the goddamn book.

 

 

Edith Pearlman has published more than 250 works of short fiction and short non-fiction in national magazines, literary journals, anthologies, and on-line publications.  Her work has appeared three times each in Best American Short Stories and the O. Henry Prize Collection.  She has published three collections of stories: Vaquita (1996, University of Pittsburgh Press),  Love Among The Greats (2002, EWU Press), and How To Fall (2005, Sarabande Books).


 
Image: Promotional poster for Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot (cropped), April 25,1926, via Wikimedia Commons.

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