Why We Have Time

By Rob Carney

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Old Roads, New Stories: A Literary Series

I don’t own binoculars. And I’m not sure I could tell a crow’s beak from a raven’s even if I did. So I’ll just go ahead and say we’ve got some ravens.

They’re bigger than the crows we had in Washington, and their kawing is a little bit different. Not just a regional-accent thing; it’s deeper, and the sound seems croakier. Salt Lake got hit with a windstorm last year that wiped out thousands of trees—I’m not exaggerating—trees like two-ton kites gusting up and then diving into roofs, and parks, and power lines. And even the trees that weren’t uprooted had their branches broken off. They’re just snags now but ideal for ravens, I guess, because four of them are over there across the street in a snarl that used to be a box elder.

It makes me think about time: my 52 years of it, but a hundred less than all those fallen trees…. The last 13 months: I’ve had four books published, including Accidental Gardens out this week, but how long will they matter? I mean, my own city doesn’t even have a daily newspaper….

Anyway, time—it’s a strange thing to think about. It’s like ravens landing in a snag one morning. Then flying off somewhere else.

Why We Have Time

Now, perhaps, that I am old
and have done already all the other things,
I can put time on like boots and walk around.
Walk where?
How can I know yet
when the days ahead are strangers,
when I haven’t yet met my sons
in this other way I am?—
not lifting up, not riding on my shoulders,
and the car already down the street
as one drives away and his brother
doesn’t need me reading stories.
There’s the next block…
I’m someone walking it.
There’s the corner ahead
where I will turn.
Boots laced, windy, and the sun in my eyes.
It’s hard to see.



Rob CarneyRob Carney’s first collection of creative nonfiction, Accidental Gardens, is out now from Stormbird Press, and his new book of poems, Call and Response, is available from Black Lawrence Press. Previous books include Facts and FiguresThe Last Tiger is Somewhere, The Book of Sharksand 88 Maps
Read Rob Carney’s Letter to America in Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy, published by Terrain.org and Trinity University Press.
Read poetry by Rob Carney appearing in Terrain.org: 6th Annual Contest Finalist, 4th Annual Contest Winner, and Issue 30. And listen to an interview on Montana Public Radio about The Book of Sharks.

Header photo by Alexas Photos, courtesy Pixabay.

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