Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Narrator’s Retirement

“this sprite-like, ageless, androgynous, amoral, wise, opinionated, understanding, sharp-eyed, partial, judicious, fond, credulous, and cynical being”

It had to stop. The charters
From the invisible world,
The voice brooding on the deep—
The narrator needed sleep.

Voice heard only once
And then long listened for, bird
Of an unknown provenance,

Outside my windows that night,
Thought the narrator, please, please,
Sing to me again.

It was one of those dismal
Nights. No, no, I must quit it.
This time I speak for myself.

The narrator tossed and turned
In an emptiness 
Neither time nor space,
The hovering place.

It couldn’t think what to say
If there was no one,
No action, no scene
Needing description.

To have spent one’s existence 
As a narrator
And, worst of all, in English,

Language possessing
No gender-neutral
Term for a person,

Meant to have very little
Material for a self,
Just career and nothing else.

Now what? It waited,
Hoping for something to start
Of its own accord.

A vast vacancy
Without boundaries
Was all it experienced.

The narrator decided
That, without surrendering
To its old habits,
Perhaps it could act.

What can a narrator do,
It wondered, a bit forlorn,
Being only words?

An act, any act . . . 
Ah! An act of speech perhaps.
Gathering itself,
Becoming its words,

The words breathing itself
Against the featureless waste,

The narrator said,
“Now! Let there be light!”
And began its retirement.

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