By the next evening, it was undrinkable. The heat wave had done its work. I flinched and turned my head. Yes, I thought. Undrinkable.

Still, I fancied, as I stared into the mug still three-quarters full with mushroom coffee, that I could see a new civilization of fungi forming islands on the surface. The coconut oil was nutrient-rich, dense, but of course, limited.

I wondered: might the life forms sprung from this brown ocean be intelligent? Might they walk, dance, sing? Fall in love? Write poetry? Build homes, have jobs, families? Tell tall tales of their heroic ancestors’ deeds around a campfire? Might some fight for rights to the oil as others strike and strike back in protest? Might they slaughter their own without mercy on dark, decaying streets? Might they be the instruments of their own destruction?

I hesitated at the sink for only a moment and sniffed the moldy coffee again—allowed the unique, dank smell of life itself to wash over me one final time—then dumped the mixture, resolutely, down the drain.

suspension —
this place between
atoms & eve


Elizabeth Alford


One thought on “Instant

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