Merav, his oldest, is a lovely, bubbly girl. She is petite—but to compensate for that, her hair and bust point upward. She hops onto the stone stage and prances towards her father. Then she rises to her tiptoes to brush her lips across his cheek, at which time her eyes flutter slightly and turn, almost by accident, to meet mine.
“David,” she curtsies, spreading her silk skirt with a perfectly dainty move, and in a blink, also winking at me.
“Enough with that,” blurts the younger, nudging her sister aside. With that, she gives Merav a look, as if to admonish her for a behavior unbecoming of a princess, especially a Jewish princess.
Like her father, Michal is tall. She is all legs, and has no chest to speak of. It is flat as a board. The back of her hand, when she extends it to me so I may kiss it, is white, and her palm feels clammy.
Then, without a single remark to me or to her father—as if what she has to say is too heavy for words—she turns on her heels and walks away.
Meanwhile, Merav releases the spear from her father’s hold, and with a disarming smile she whispers into his ear, “You love me, father?”
“I do,” he says.
“Then,” she hints at me, “have mercy on him.”
She leans the thing against the wall, and a minute later hops off the stage, and races her sister to the other side of the court. They disappear beyond the stone arc, and the sound of her giggles subsides, until finally it is no more than a ghost.
The king heaves a sigh, raising his eyes. Catching sight of the richly draped, raw-silk canopy over his head, he flicks off the pretty tassels dangling down from it. When they fall back into place, he tears them out with a single rip, at which time he turns back to me.
“Mercy is useless,” he says. “Merav knows better than to ask this of me. I’ve told her so, many times before.”
"The miracle of Uvi Poznansky's writing is her uncanny ability to return to old stories
and make them brilliantly fresh"-Grady Harp, Hall of Fame reviewer