Chen Chen

Chen Chen

Year’s End

I saw my ancestor making omelets

from leftover bits of shadow. I stood up
to give a standing ovation to each now fluffy morsel
of dark. Then I stayed

standing, ovationing every shadow,

including the ancestor’s, the houseplant’s,
& mine. When I was done, I had a question. Ancestor, I said,
am I in a sense your

shadow, or are you somehow mine?

& my ancestor said, Sure. & went about
plating the omelets with immense confidence,
though obviously did not know

which was my preferred plate

for omelets. It was then I realized that perhaps
I hadn’t given a standing ovation.
Could one person do such a thing?

Or was it only non-seated

clapping? I wanted to ask my ancestor that, but
having sat down by this point,
it was time to eat.

CHEN CHEN is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Futher Possibilities. He teaches creative writing at Brandeis University.