by Mallory Nygard
after the image of the same name by Andy Warhol
I like to imagine a young, painfully shy, Warhola boy kneeling in front of a wall of unhuman eyes seeing through his overgrown bangs, through the crust of his chest through the hole he’d one day hold together with gauze and gauche grace. A pupil before the pupils: Be not afraid they murmur to him. I sit like him before the faces of a man who is more than my mere humanity. Sixty times more. Over and over and over I keep looking over the scene. I hang each view of the Last Supper – the last time Jesus sat with his friends before he was rejected, denied, misunderstood, attacked – on the atrium of my heart. A litany of identical identity. By the time I reach the final frame, the beginning is lost and I have to start again. Only then, after all, do I see that the shadows and spaces are all the same. Different only in their placement, the time of day, and length of gaze I give each one. I am the difference. If only I can keep my eyes open.
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.