La Separación

by Steven Wingate

Ne permittas me separari a te
            says the Anima Christi, and on my end 
I don’t want to permit
anything to separate us
but I do it every morning
when the weakness inside me wakes and breathes

and I’m lost in a sticky fog
of achievements and acquisitions
and tricks of language like this poem
that bear no relationship to my actual life
which is lived in a light I can’t sense
but always work my way toward:

eyes searching for the lost spectrum
striving above and below human range
to find where life is lived
without our delusion 
            that life must be what we make it
            and not what you have made it.
Without the separation
            we declare in the name of freedom
            or allow in the name of sloth.

Someday I’ll find the strip of light 
that lets me see we’re not separated
            from you at all
and I’ll lead others to it—not with words like this
            but with silence
            because we are born from silence
and only in silence the separation heals.

Steven Wingate is the author of the novels The Leave-Takers (2021) and Of Fathers and Fire (2019), both part of the Flyover Fiction Series from the University of Nebraska Press. He is an associate professor at South Dakota State University. His writings on faith and culture have appeared in such venues as Image Journal’s “Good Letters” blog, The CressetDappled ThingsThe WindhoverThe Other JournalTalking Writing, Solum JournalAssisi, and Belmont Story Review.

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