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.