by Mallory Nygard
I. I knew that you could not be here while you were there, and I knew they needed you. They had been chewing their hopelessness like a cud until you died. And I don’t hear them anymore, the wailers and criers-out. Did you free all of them? Did you call all of them out of the depths, too? But that silence, for me, is almost worse. I want to only be happy for them. But for me? I miss you. I want you to be here with me. Will you stay? Will you be staying? I walk home alone from Golgatha. Mary couldn’t leave and Martha couldn’t leave her. But I know from the silence that you are not there, hung on the top of that hill. I feel like a child kicking rocks further down the road. I lift my eyes but can see nothing above through the storm. I feel unmoored like the boat Peter left untied during the last moon, pulled away by some force greater than my desire to stay. I wonder if you would even want to come back. I can’t believe. I dare to hope. But I think I know. The silence will never be emptied. For all the anguish, the dissonant cacophony was at least familiar. I knew that pain. Is it wrong to say I will miss it? II. I knew that you were needed. You hear them all. Silence is you here. I want you like a child, pulled by my desire to hope. I think I will say it –
Mallory Nygard lives and writes in East Tennessee. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Relief: A Journal of Art and Faith, North Dakota Quarterly, Ekstasis, Amethyst Review, Pigeon Parade Quarterly, and Ever Eden Literary Journal. Her poem “Song of Sarajevo” was named Best in Show at the 2021 Rehumanize International Create | Encounter. Her first collection of poetry, Pelican, was released in 2021.