A simurgh flies over a princess on a throne, artist unknown, San Diego Museum of Art
The upright feather waits for the dark heart to be placed in the bright pan, waits for a finger of truth (pointing, veering) to assess which side outweighs the other. A dog-faced god sees to the procedure. The lion-headed goddess fidgets, waiting to see if she’ll get to devour the soul of the heavy-hearted.
Somehow I found myself in that place, this theater, not sure whether I’m a witness to or the subject of today’s weighing-in. No matter. A nod of respect to the divinities, their roles: then I pull a scarlet velvet cape out of thin air, snap it like a gym towel, swirl it around my shoulders. This goes unremarked by all.
I fish a peacock feather out from a secret side pocket, hoisting it high overhead, yelling “GERONIMO!” and “COME AND TAKE IT!” Anubis slips a sidelong glance at me as the pans sway up and down: the seesaw of immortal life, or the end of a soul. Ammit growls low at me. I wave the peacock feather like a semaphore,
a marshall on the ground guiding through approach something very much larger than the ancients here. That something lifts the spangled bowl of heaven up, up, high enough so when I jump on the scale pans to springboard upward, the peacock feather becomes a simurgh, clasping me lightly in its talons: we're away.