Abandoned as a child, Marcos Rodríguez Pantoja survived
alone in the mountains of Southern Spain for 15 years
They trap voices in a box. In the beginning,
I smash one to release the singing.
Where are the small people?
They laugh, but that is not an answer.
They show a silver glass
from which a stranger’s face stares back.
Laugh more when I say: Who? I am the very slow,
they say. The got it backwards.
The calluses on my hands and feet
are pared away to stop me running.
They cut off the hair
that makes my body clever in winter.
Their eyes grasp for attention, yet are impossible to read.
A gaze hovering like flies above old meat.
Their hands collide with my head;
moods dangerous as fire without a circle of rocks.
They bind themselves to objects:
my house, my bed, my son, my dog.
Must be afraid of darkness,
because they make it loud with light.
With calm, flat tongues they say
I did not friend the wolves, did not speak with them.
Explain stupid. Explain impossible.
Say: children make things up. Say: rescue, love, god.
For years, they do not listen to a word I say.
Now I am old, they line up at my door;
knock me awake, whining hunger.
What is it they want?
I remember glorious trees, wolves’ hymns,
the comfort of many mothers,
rough milk between my lips,
the rush of earth beneath my feet.