Cygnus of Myth
For my grandfather
Cygnus once was Maker of the Squirrel Tail Donut. He chocolate-frosted the rodent’s coda, thrilled he had ended his menial days of gorging tubers in hopes of shitting flowers. He hung the squirrel tails—astral and brown-crispy—in his parlor window beside a sign, tails for sale.
In no time, centaurs, beetlemen, sirens and women in birds of paradise hats patronized the parlor. One, two, four dozen, Cyg wrapped the tails in the eyelids of lions and sent customers out into the galaxy, delicacies in hand. Cygnus thought he’d landed himself a legacy, but what can I tell you?
Big Myths moved in with their Big Traps and Nets and Cyg began to close the parlor early to head to the hills for more squirrel before the end of sun-facing. Yet, as soon as Big Myths were present, squirrels loose in the galaxy vanished. Now only Cygnus’
blind neighbor, Dugong—she had her tail hovered over by B.M.—came to the parlor to visit. Cyg, grown feathery, appreciated his neighbor’s company. They’d sit behind the tail case and recall the days the parlor brimmed with such exotic species, and, today’s cubs only want data transfusions. It was good, their neighborly exile. Cyg even thought about marrying Dugong, but soon she too moved on to her next shelf’s life. So Cyg sits at the window
tossing bread ends on lawn and remembering. If you have the time to stop by, don’t be alarmed by his muttering. It’s always the same.
It’s like you ate each other and then shit each other out. If you have kids they will just be a string, an albino intestine comprised of segments that are your individual children. For family gatherings, you will have your albino-intestine-string of children lie down with each of you standing at an end of them and you will pick the whole them up and press them against your waists and curl into them like spaghettis curling along a tine. You two will meet, wrapped in the middle of them, all of you, gathered. She, being the woman and mother, so resourceful and the sole object of your love, will voluntarily vomit into her mouth. She will pass playful squirts of vomit from her mouth to your children’s mouths and your mouth, open wide like your wide-open heart only for her, and pass you vomit sausages. Full herself, she will be, knowing she has fed all of you, gathered around her. And these will be your days, gathering closer, nights falling and each beginning again with the story of how you both just knew, but they’ll already know, so no one will say anything.
Sara Sutter lives in Portland, OR. She wrote a chapbook, Sirenomelia. More of Sara’s writing appears in The Awl, Fence, Propeller and various literary journals.