Supplicant

The first time he met her, he wept.

She had come, pushing her future before her in a jumble of babies and broken bones and cardamom-spiced teas, a song that soared up from grief’s deep bass notes to high whispers of joy. She paused in the door of his hut, as if asking permission to enter. He lifted startled eyes to hers, for in that jumble he had seen his own face, lined and sagging and smiling, and so he wept. In all the cacophonies and symphonies of strangers’ futures that had ever rolled toward him, he had never before encountered his own face.

“Is something wrong, Seer?” Her eyes were deep and dark, wells of cool silence.

“No,” he said, wiping at his eyes. “Please sit down.” He pointed, not to the supplicant’s chair in the corner, but to the other end of the divan that would not be his much longer.