Martha

by Mallory Nygard

the dishes
the cots 
the blankets
the rugs
the fig tree
the well
the dinners 
the sun

Are these not enough, 
dear Lord?
Am I?

Don’t you care
that I am the only
one 
pulling my weight, 
keeping this 
ship alight 
on its path? 

Don’t you care
that since my brother
died, 
the food
and the cloth
(the sheets we used as children
stripped to wrap his sores
in the memory of safety), 
the blood 
and the myrrh
(after our sister used her allotment
on you),
have all come from 
my hands (though they shake
from the weight they carry 
alone)?

My sister can’t sleep
nor wallow
nor weep. 
She eats when I make her, 
but mostly she shrieks
at the thought 
that this all could have been 
different if you had
just cared enough 
to come. 

But, Lord, please
I am asking you still
to come

Come back to our home, 
it’s empty
without the way that you fill
silence with stories 
and answers with “will”. 

Come back to his grave
and bless it with us. 

I am waiting
to see him again 
on the day the earth ends
and this all goes away, but you
would you come sooner? 
      
                                         Come
back and hold my sister’s hand;
she needs you. 
I will be fine, 
but my sister needs you
to wipe her tears. 
My hands are full
with the dregs of his life.

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.

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