The heart is only a bag of dark blood, that, at the end of our lives and even before, seizes up.

On the pretense of guiding me in his footsteps, my father gave me plastic assembly models of the human heart, a bird's heart, a frog's heart and, later, an actual dog's heart that was pickled in alcohol and somehow cleverly squeezed down the narrow neck of a whisky bottle. They were lined up against the wall, on my desk, like trophies.

Both gifts presented problems. The models were simplified to the point of abstraction. The dog's heart, on the other hand, presented the difficulty of being able to see, but not touch. Against my better judgement, I pried opened the bottle. Immediately, the foul smell pervaded the room and, nauseated, I went out into the garden and buried it. Needless to say, I never came to any actual understanding about how a heart works or the differences between the species.

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