Pardon My French

Dylan Loring

I couldn’t decide between
French bread and French fries,
sipping French roast
I made in my French press,
preparing to cook either breakfast or lunch
for the woman who began the previous evening
in a brown French braid
before we started French un-dressing
and spent the night French kissing.

If French bread,
why not French toast?
my mind rotated,
biking from Normandy to Paris.

Instead I chose to retreat
through the French doors
to the yard so I could get
some dirty air, chain-smoking
and coffee-sipping, smelling
like someone’s grandma’s house
until a cartoon-looking skunk walked by.

Inside, she was eating French
vanilla ice cream, thinking about how
she had to take her bulldog
to the vet before showing up
to work for the day
—she’s an au-pair for the CEO
of French’s, the mustard company,
and was supposed to make little Stephanie
onion soup for lunch.
But first she suggested we hop in the pool
and take a French dip.

24 hours of thinking
I was le man later,
we met over cans of LaCroix at the coffee shop,
and I told her
the one about the guy who mistook
a bidet for a drinking fountain,
after which she stuffed her phone
into her brown, star-covered Louis Vuitton purse
and turned to me all serious,
saying she only liked me
for my American accent, that I spent
most of my time making jokes that aren’t funny.
So I told her I was just trying to show her
my level of commitment
and teach her about American culture,
and she said she didn’t have time
for a relationship anyway and would learn plenty
about American culture on her own
since she was going to be in a community
theater performance where she’d get to wear
a pink jacket and pretend
to be a beauty school dropout.

Dylan Loring is a poet from Des Moines, Iowa. He recently received his MFA in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato and teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Barron County. Some of his recent poems have appeared in Ninth Letter, Split Lip Magazine, Bridge Eight, and the minnesota review.

Before the Razor
A look inside the creative process of “Pardon My French”