Un-Objective Correlative










Start with a fish,

a tuna. No an anchovy.  

A small, herringlike marine fish

of the family Engraulidae,

a European fish (Engraulis encrasicholus),

widely used in appetizers and various dishes.

As in pizza, hold the anchovies.

It doesn’t matter. Start with an anchovy

as your objective correlative,

already an oxymoron. Add

the ocean, once its residence,

now a mere background,

only to be used to ask questions

like is it possible to see the water

we’re swimming in when we are

swimming in it? Then, correlative to what?

Does anyone keep the anchovies

when ordering a pizza with everything on it?

Usually geeks or nerds, maybe.  I mean,

how do anchovies complement

the other ingredients on the cheese?

You’re looking very fine tonight, Olive?

Add a story to the fish, the anchovy,

the vast ocean, a woman sitting

at the typewriter, the pizza,

maybe a handsome delivery boy

on a bicycle whistling up at an open

window by the backyard gate, maybe

a mysterious telegram. Explain then

how they are all connected; detach

yourself from the more comic elements

and slide over into the deeper

ocean of feeling that seems

to hover over the woman at the desk .

Is she sad? Why do her eyes

keep straying to the window?

Add a daughter upstairs.

Is she looking out the window as well?

Now the telegram crinkled up in her fist

is on the floor, only a few black letters

still showing—ied, ednes ght at 3 m.

Come soon. Of course, that explains

the boy outside, not his curiosity.

The girl upstairs is not looking

out the window, but staring in the mirror

one hand holding a brush, frozen fingers

curled around the handle, talking to herself

in a low voice. Downstairs, the woman

at the typewriter listens carefully, tries

to interpret some of the words,

waits for inspiration or a reason.

It was not what she first thought:

that day twenty years ago near

the ocean, Biloxi, Miss., walking

on the beach, seeing the boy

for the first time.

His hair and smile, eyes the same

color of the sea in front of them,

their first date at the Pizza parlor,

his love of anchovies, her idea that

that he was like a fish whose ocean

she could swim in all day and all night.

Maybe it should have been a tuna,

not an anchovy. Maybe the mercy

of the blander tuna, though highly edible,

and without remorse, made a more objective

correlative than an un-interesting and

unwanted anchovy. Maybe, it was

the missing ocean or its depth that made

everything seem open, unfinished.

Add one ending, plus a strange,

new character.

S.E. Black


About culturalblanket

I strongly dislike just talking about me, so I took a poll and found that 7 people agreed, 18 disagreed, 4 disliked, 3 strongly disliked and 17 do not apply.
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