The Supplicants

Shift change at the city gates.

The turning happened where we almost ended, feeling the old king’s gaze, the walls of his long sleep around him, each drowsy syllable dripping from the mouth a study in the effects of subatomic explosions. 

How long? We wondered, had been wondering. We shivered, had been shivering, naked in the shadow of the fortress. The next cold rain started a whisper among us, in the direction of concessions. What was the point? with the freeway cars above us hissing Yes. 

We could have run then. I think we almost did. But one dropped her knees to the grass and then her ear, and we followed, to hear who was coming beneath our soles to be counted, even now.