I pretend that whatever I see ahead of me is the future: an old couple leaning into each other, a cyclist, a birder with binoculars, and once a whitetail doe. It’s the doe’s tail that stirs wonder, the way the white fur of its tail draws the eye and then, leaping, wards the eye away. My father, a reader of tea leaves, a tasseographer, predicted I would meet a woman with blond hair, and in the darkness later, he used my doll to startle me, lifting the future’s plastic body like a torch, its unbound hair wild and flaming. What frightens, that we have dressed the future in such small clothes, or that darkness ruptured so suddenly? Ah, the villainy in our figurations. Perhaps these are the dregs of my past. Perhaps these are the leavings of my present. Anything will prophesy, if made to do so: a blind eye, a dove’s flight, the four moles that pebble my left breast. Forgive me for wishing to come back in 5,000 years. But I want to watch time unfold, to greet the citizens of Jupiter and see the floating pools in the palaces of Ursa Major. To augur the future, I stir tea leaves and tip the dregs from my father’s cup. I foresee what you foresee: no end to these frictions and alarms. The half-starved stray ahead of you is your future. But if you want another, boil the dregs again, then stir and spill them out. Soothsayer, it’s the shapes that matter, the patterns you make from chaos, the story you make with whatever remains.
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