No Holy Whisper

by Steven Wingate

I cannot hear your whispering voice
that guides me to the poems, and thus

the poems won’t let me inside them.
They know I don’t have the key that lets

them shower from my mouth like water
from a stone giant spilling downward

            which is how it feels on the best days
            when words come, forged by another tongue.

No words today: no holy whisper
pressing my ear, guiding my fingers.

Only the desire to feel your breath
against my expectant lobes, waiting

for clues to the why and how of our
belonging to earth, our belonging 

            to you in ways we see and not see:
            ways beneath our sense and need for truth.

For are poems not holy whispers
distilled, slowed so we can comprehend?

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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