I opened his heart on the kitchen counter this morning with a pairing knife and a garlic press. His body lay still, still warm on the hearth as I worked; and the dawn still played table tennis with the snow — returning awkward beams of light back and forth from the heaven to the ground. His flesh was less malleable than I had anticipated. It lacked any of the phantom palpitations I half expected from late night and early morning movies, but it moved between my fingers in a way that almost felt conscious. That he didn’t give it to me doesn’t lead to the conclusion that I stole it. Quite the contrary. His daughter pleaded with me to take it; and now we stand together in the act of its dissection — morally, if not literally.

Of particular interest to me is the right ventricle. I long suspected it to be deficient in at least one capacity, and it is now my good fortune to arrive at a firsthand, concrete resolution.