Eleanor Wilner


I have watched you crank that sun up
in the morning, then drop it like the sand bag
that raises the curtain as the house lights fade;
I have seen you churn those waters up, then suck
them back, or stop them with a freezing wind,
monuments to their own motion, standing waves of ice,
polar bears stranded without a radio, seals
knocking their heads against the glass ceiling,
trying to rise. I have seen you eat the scenery
of a forest with a storm; raise a volcano
in a vacant lot, hot lava swallowing
the housing development; dry up the wetlands
just when the long-legged heron was eyeing a fish;
or, on the sunniest day—when the pastoral seems like
a documentary—loose a swarm of locusts
to devour the grain; set species against species,
roll the dice, two stars collide: time's assassin,
I have grown tired of keeping your accounts,
shaping a story from the chaos of your caprice,
the endless invention of your unconcern; I tire
of the argument, the contention, the attempt
to make a plot out of quicksand and fog,
to rouse the wind when becalmed, to comfort
the dead with a song:
ergo I request reassignment,
a change of vocation, a more reasonable
situation: perhaps as a maker of kites—
something for the wind to take in passing,
the sweet unravel of string, line's pure extension,
revoking the "you," the merest invention—
a part of speech, the monologist's ersatz auditor,
gone with the kite, back, into airy nothing,
recalled: a local habitation, and a name.
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