Autotrophic Animals (Maria Robinson)

After we watched The Lobster for the umpteenth time, S asks me what animal I would choose be.

an owl, I say. a tree. We’re texting, so I’m tap-saying, not mouth-saying. S says I have to differentiate when I’m recounting events. Says it’s different to type it than to say it out loud. I disagree but when S calls audiobooks reading I say (tap!) that’s not reading it’s listening, so we’re both assholes and/or full of shit. 

a tree?!?! S says. 

yeh trees are badass. 

they hold their crowns away from neighboring trees they don’t like and use a nextwork of fungi to send each other important information below ground. 

i never said there not befass but trees arent animals. 

who says? some fucking dead white man high on heirarchy. artificially divisive demigogerie!


animals need what? feathers? fur? discernible buttholes? 

trees fight and talk and bleed. i say trees are animals too. or we’re all plants. 

S is bubbling and bubbling but nothing comes through. 

I wait a while and when nothing else appears I say either way: tree. 

No bubbles. Just nothing. Nothing-nothing. I pick a scab. Play my sad song on repeat. I go outside and put one bare foot on the lawn. Feel the ground alive with news. 

I tap none of my leaves will ever touch yours again but erase before I say it. I tap-erase-tap. Erase then tap some more. I bubble like carbon dioxide. You can synthesize it without me. 


Maria Robinson studied creative writing at The Johns Hopkins University and has done graduate work at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work is published or forthcoming in CatapultThe Forge Literary MagazineNew World WritingPANKBellevue Literary Review, and Cream City Review, among others. 


image: MM Kaufman