to each other & here              we were wondering what they would say to us. I am wondering
what  they’d  think  of  bipolar  disorder  in  their  limited  vocabulary.  I am wondering if they
know               what  a  funeral  is.  Consider  sunset:  surely           they  know  the  absence of
vitality,            surely  they  touch  each  other  at  nighttime  too,  surely          they  know what
I’m  talking about  when  I  name lust  a  problematic emotion. Consider rain: do they know
they  are drinking  it?  At  the end of the next apocalypse when all the people are gone, will
the internet try to kill everything else? What do              the mushrooms think? Do they want
to  live?   Do they  know  what  an  evolutionary  instinct  is?   What  do  we  do  with  all  this
capitalism, so deep                  that we are surveilling                 the fungus. Picture the afterlife:
intelligence is only artificial                      when the people who made it                   are still alive /
intelligence is a construct of humanness / mushrooms will probably exist long               after
we do. Picture the afterlife: the wires have taken over               our buildings and cities, roots
crawling               over their crevices, the mushrooms          using their 50 “words” to tell them
it’s okay                that they lived              despite us.                                                                             

Umang Kalra is a writer from India and the founding EIC of VIBE. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Wax Nine, Lucy Writers’ Platform, and elsewhere. They are a two-time Best of the Net Anthology finalist and a Pushcart nominee. Read more at