Didier et Zizou

by Chen Chen

Chen Chen

for Zach

We loved Howl & the Tao when it was still
spelled with a T. We loved green tea but often had
Orangina instead. We loved Trakl & a darkly

declarative sentence. We loved different genders
but knew we were just two variations on the theme,
horny teenage boy. We loved Heidegger

& dwelling in your kitchen, drinking Orangina,
being there, for an hour, two, being moved
by each other’s stillnesses.

Sometimes your cat stopped by, ink black
& unimpressed. An ellipsis from next door always
stopped by. It said nothing & preferred to stand,

quietly vibrating, between our adolescent musings
& philosophical urges. Then it reminded us
we had French homework. The future perfect

vs. the plain future. We put off both.
In French one afternoon, when Madame asked for
everyday associations with the season of l’automne,

our classmates responded with leaves, scarves, pumpkins,
pumpkin-flavored drinks. Then I raised my hand
& Madame sighed, Oui, Didier? & I said, La mort, autumn

has to do with death. & you laughed, loud. In French
I was Didier & you were Zizou & Madame was
unimpressed, unamused. In French it was like

we’d never left your kitchen. Except it was raining,
always a panicky autumnal rain with Madame, which
made us crave tea & love e.e. & consider the smallness

of our hands. They were like ellipses, master
procrastinators, unable to finish things & not wanting to,
they loved fooling with the point, multiplying

the period…elongating the time…the words spent together

Last updated May 16, 2023