Histoplasmosis: A Guide’s Instruction at the Cave

By INGRID DE KOK

 

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
inside you.

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.

Click here to purchase Issue 04

Histoplasmosis: A Guide’s Instruction at the Cave

Related Posts

poetry feature image

January 2021 Poetry Feature: Bruce Bond

BRUCE BOND
I was just another creature crawling from the mausoleum, / and I thought, so this is it, the place in the final chapter / where I am judged for all my cruelties, blunders, failures of attention, / and I waited for the furies to take me, or some such host. / But it was just another morning.

Sky full of comets

Poems in Translation from Bestia di gioia

MARIANGELA GUALTIERI
And he soars / saved, outstretched / untouched by the gravity that pins us / down / we deserters of empty spaces and heights / shadows cast / into modest taverns for a bite. / Heads in capitals / of rust. / A lifetime annuity of darkness. / Only a cry can save us now.

poetry feature image

December 2020 Poetry Feature: Denise Duhamel and Jeffrey Harrison

DENISE DUHAMEL
Where was I / when I was 20? I’d already been accepted / as an exchange student, taking my first plane ride / to London where I’d catch a train / to Wales. On that first flight, I sat next to a woman / in a shawl—how old was she? It’s hard to say.