If after a few weeks you find yourself coughing,
your chest laced in a corset of steel,
tell your doctor you were here.
Tell him about the bats, their investment in the dark,
their droppings spongy fudge
which you probably tramped on in the cave,
the spores you may have breathed
now inhabiting your lung tissue,
taking all your breath
for the growing fungus
Don’t panic. There is medication for this
if you reach an informed doctor early enough.
Your airways can be cleared again,
lungs restored to normal size.
But remember, a bat flew into your body
out of a cave. Your body is now a cave.
Your breath is the way in and out of the cave,
its dark entrance the same as
its only exit.
Ingrid de Kok has published five volumes of poetry, most recently Seasonal Fires and Other Signs.