“Referential” is a short story by Lorrie Moore that was first published in the New Yorker in 2012. In 2014, the story was published as part of Lorrie Moore’s story collection entitled Bark. The story is based in part on the short story “Signs and Symbols” by Vladimir Nabokov. “Referential” tells the story of a woman and a man who go to visit the woman’s son in a mental institution on the son’s birthday. The story explores themes of emotional distance, pain, and love.