Jim Zola

What the Feral Boy Might Tell

Farmers whispered of the fleeting ghost, 
a naked beggar crouched at their back doors. 
They caught me scrounging tubers in a field 
at the edge of St. Sernine. I was expected 
to have the sense to die, left pig-stuck 
in a thicket, my father’s signature -- 
a jagged scar across my neck. 
Farmers’ wives claimed they saw me howling 
at an empty sky. Lies. They say 
I never smile, only crave food and sleep. 
Curled in a fetal wrap, I dream 
of Psamtik, the lonely room. How I fool 

them all. They poke me with their simple hopes, 
torture me for speech. Eau, the glass half-filled 
but out of reach. Idiot. I shine 
the apple of debate, piss wherever 
I please. I fill a cart with dung and then, 
unstopped, shovel it unfilled again. 
To show me off, I dine with generals 
and dark eyed intellects. I wolf each course, 
stuff my fancy pockets with desserts, 
then slip away, strip my outer skins 
to leap through gardens, agile as a squirrel.


Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook–The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press)–and a full length poetry collection–What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC.