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MOBY DICK AND THE BEGINNING OF THE END

            He says Melville was stupid because he constantly refers to Moby Dick as a fish. Moby Dick is not a fish.  Moby Dick is a whale.  Everyone knows that whales aren’t fish and fish aren’t whales.  Ergo, Melville is not worth reading.

            She tries everything she can think of.  She discusses poetic language.  She suggests that it is Ishmael, not Melville who calls the whale a fish.  She asserts that even if Moby-Dick does contain an inherent factual inaccuracy regarding fish and whales, there are many reasons that it is still worth reading.  Eventually, when she is tired of arguing, she asks why a whale can’t be a fish and why a fish can’t be a whale in the context of a novel:  a novel is a work of fiction, after all.

            None of it works; he is not convinced.  Time is passing and it is getting late.  He can’t get past the whale/fish issue and she can’t get past the fact that he can’t get past it.  He accuses her of being out to sea; she retaliates that it is he who is missing the boat.  For better or for worse, they are, on this occasion, able to come up with enough nautical puns to hold off the inevitable sinking that is quietly being prepared for them by the roiling sea.

 

 

LONG DISTANCE

            My baby who is not really a baby but actually two years old though I still call her a baby because there are no other children so no one else to take on the name, well, she likes to look up at the sky. ‘Want to see the moon and the stars,’ she says every night, and every night we try to find them.

            When I take her to the window or outside to the front drive or into the garden she gets faraway and still, and even though I am holding her in my arms she feels weightless as if the gravities of other celestial bodies are already more powerful than anything I can provide.

            I am uneasy because I am already beginning to understand that if the stars call and technology allows she will be off and away swallowed by the night sky only occasionally remembering to beam a little message back to earth, the way I only occasionally remember to jot an email to my mother who I left in a small town across the ocean 3000 miles away many years ago: my mother who is probably still calling out ‘baby’, even though I am now too far away to hear her voice.