No Great Myth

There is no such thing as a soulmate.

There is no perfect lover whose name is written in your stars, no heart-twin torn from your side by a vengeful god, no gossamer thread connecting one lonely pinkie to the other over any earthly space.

There is only this: the two of us, scanners in hand, trailing behind an employee as she leads us briskly around the department store, just as your mother requested.

“This is the premium china,” she says. “You’ll need at least two sets.”

I scan the laugh lines at the corners of your eyes.

“Here’s the cut crystal,” she says. “We only sell heirloom pieces, of course.”

You scan the mole on my chin.

“Egyptian cotton sheets, 1000-thread count. Believe me, it’s worth it.”

I scan the bald patch at the base of your skull where your brother once cracked you with a wiffle bat.

“Do consider our mahogany dining room set. Timeless.”

You scan the scar carving through the meat of my thumb where the neighbor dog bit me when I was eight.

“These are the kitchen appliances. I recommend the digital bartender.”

I scan your swimmer’s elbow.

“Remember your target range is eighty to a hundred items—don’t worry about the cost. People want to be generous!”

You set the scanner on my collarbone, above the heart doctors told my parents was too weak to keep me alive. You pull the trigger three times. I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive.

***

Jasmine Sawers is a Kundiman fellow and graduate of Indiana University’s MFA program whose work appears in such journals as Ploughshares, AAWW’s The Margins, SmokeLong Quarterly, and more. Sawers serves as Associate Fiction Editor for Fairy Tale Review and debuts a flash collection through Rose Metal Press in 2023. Originally from Buffalo, New York, Sawers now lives and pets dogs outside St. Louis. Learn more on jasminesawer@.com and @sawers on Twitter.


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