Infinity Mushroom

In her TEDx talk, Jae Rhim Lee is clad
from head to foot in what looks like a black

ninja suit with crocheted branches embroidered
across its surface. These contain spores

of infinity mushrooms, which she has patiently
cultivated in petri dishes and trained to eat

clippings of her hair, skin, and nails. The idea
is to use the mushrooms as a natural decomposition

agent upon the body’s death, so we no longer
have to worry about soaking corpses in formaldehyde

or pumping the skin with chemical filler
before applying makeup, thereby rendering

the body’s return to its organic state as clean
and green as possible. There will be no more

burning in a cremation chamber, no expensive
casket of metal or pine with satin linings.

When they suit our dead bodies up, lay them
in the earth and cover them with soil, in the dark

the mushrooms will begin their quiet work: digesting
the slowly dissolving body, neutralizing its poisons,

until at last it, too, becomes merely a handful of spores,
dust settling into that common bowl that once we sprang from.

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