Aēr in Homer has rarely been discussed; the few studies that do exist focus on the word's semantics and scope of reference. This article proposes that we focus instead on how aēr works and what aēr does, both to characters within the Iliad and the Odyssey and, especially, for the poet responsible for composing them. First, I argue that aēr offers the poet a stratagem for navigating complex narrative demands and that it is best understood primarily in terms of the phenomenological effects it produces on Homeric characters. Next, I consider the implications of this argument for discussions of Homeric things and objects, particularly those influenced by New Materialism. Finally, I explore the consequences of this argument for our understanding of the Presocratic thinker most associated with aēr, Anaximenes.