We were fifth graders.
Ms. Hurley had invited the Minotaur to display his vast collection to the class. He dressed
formally in shined shoes, held up in a glass case
a skinless muscle.
He said, “This was the heart when she was married.”
He didn’t explain who she was, or why only her heart remained.
“The architecture of the body. The deepest layers,” he went on. We were in awe. Dion asked if
he hunted at dusk.
“Only if it’s snowing.”
Ms. Hurley passed out paints and permanent markers. The Minotaur invited us to decorate the
swallowed stones inside the alligator stomach.
“He was large, hard to take down,” the Minotaur said. “But it’s impossible to really know
I slumped over my desk to rest my head in my arms and listened as the Minotaur’s tail whacked
something on the tiled floor. On my swallowed stone, I painted the weather inside a zebra stripe.
I generated its lightning, the blankets of pulverized ice. It was a place you’d never want to return
to. While the paint still dried, the Minotaur reached over and grabbed the stone with his hooves.
“Generous use of color,” he said. His voice trembled. He brought the stone to his nostrils.
Detected its smell, its warmth, shed one slow-moving tear.
“I had a pony like this once,” he said.