Now I am human by Rosie Garland (Lucent Dreaming Issue 9)

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.

Buy issue 9 today.
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram
Rosie Garland writes long and short fiction, poetry and sings with post-punk band The March Violets. Her work has been published internationally. Her new poetry collection is What Girls do in the Dark (Nine Arches Press). Her latest novel The Night Brother was described by The Times as “a delight…with shades of Angela Carter.” In 2019, Val McDermid named her one of the UK’s most compelling LGBT writers.

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