Warden of the Winds

I feel it picking up again,
slow sibilance.

The air is moving.
The leaves are its hands
in my hair.

It will turn hurricane,
this breeze, clear blue
against blue sky,
so gentle now,
a solemn gentility—

how storms begin.
These gusts are
only breathing.

They want to exist.
They will learn of power
and proof, dragging
fragments across earth.

Not to let them grow, these
gasps, to recognize themselves,
I hunt them out of hiding—
before the branch sways or
the apple falls, before
the ship is wrecked at sea.

I get there when and if I can
(I’m old as myth)
and even then, futility:

how childlike, men, storm-
tossed, inquiring. How like
the bag of wind a box of shells,
a brightening gun,
a grey-skinned bomb.


Alexandra Haines-Stiles is a graduate of Harvard and Oxford, where she studied twentieth century literature and language. Her work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, The Missouri Review, Clementine Unbound, and elsewhere. She lives in New York and London.


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