I could open it for you, said the gyrfalcon, all talons, and I remembered. The spruce branch felt rough as the cross-hatched handle, the cold steel slick in sweaty latex. Needles nearby trembled, though the winds remained hushed. I watched as the beaked blade pressed into chilled chambers, thick red caverns where once roared a great river. Around us, the forested lab leaned, densely. Above us, stones circled, regular and rising, each thermal a beat.
They say our heart is the size of one fist.
This world, when it opened, filled two hands.
A branch stirred. To know what perches, look for feathers, said the gyrfalcon. Fiercely. In a mighty breath of bones and wings, it opened. Mountains cracked and called for change. A vivid wind responded. Beneath us, the horizon dropped, encircling a sun-swept sea. The splayed heart followed, unraveling as it rose. Many hands were filled. Drums kept time with each swaying bough. The forest sighed, its perches feathered with souls.]]>