This one time I explained to him that huorns are massive introverts with selective mutism and space issues. Who doesn’t love them, overlooked trees taking back their shadows. But the movie version got it wrong. I mean, there was no way it could get at the rage. The way it lives in the viscera, slow-honed. He wasn’t really listening. The trail was looping back and the moon should have been rising. Do you think somewhere there’s a depressed tree that’s, like, boozing on its own decomposing fruit and just fucking up its tree neighborhood? He had some good moments but no sense of sinew. I didn’t stop him when he carved our names in the bark. I didn’t run when the tree spit the letters right back through his guts. I grinned back at the roots, the mirror system dripping fungi. Not a single branch waved in the air.
Carolyn Oliver is the author of the poetry collection Inside the Storm I Want to Touch the Tremble (University of Utah Press, forthcoming 2022), winner of the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize. Her very short prose and prose poetry have appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Indiana Review, Monkeybicycle, No Contact, Jellyfish Review, jmww, X-R-A-Y, Lost Balloon, FlashBack Fiction, Milk Candy Review, and New Flash Fiction Review, among other journals. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net in both fiction and poetry. She lives with her family in Massachusetts. Online: carolynoliver.net.