Im­per­fect Knowl­edge

The London Magazine - - SHEENAGH PUGH -

Young Eirene in the great bed of state, al­most lost among silks and bro­cades, hold­ing her tri­umph, her first son, heir to the east­ern em­pire, who will be her only child, though the bustling ladies, the unc­tu­ous courtiers, the smil­ing fa­ther do not know this: still less, that mother and son, two decades hence, will fall out over ikons. Eyes screwed shut, his small face nuz­zles to the warmth of the body he has known these nine months, and her arms re­spond, tight­en­ing around her hope. And if she knew she would come to love power too much to let it go, and if he knew that she, one day, in this room, would de­pose him; or­der his eyes put out, if they both knew, even then, it would not change this mo­ment.

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