Orange-sky sunrise over mountains

Before Anyone Was Even Finished,

By Rob Carney

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Old Roads, New Stories: A Literary Series

Before Anyone Was Even Finished,

the day began again, like the sky had hit rewind. So the people poured more cereal and took another shower.

Then it kept on happening, the day jumping back to start over, people’s cars going Zwip! in the middle of their commutes.

It was pretty ridiculous. A woman said, “Someone should fix this.” So a team of physicists was summoned, plus a Strong Man arrived.

“Tie this rope to that mountain,” one said.

“Our equations will prove,” said the others.

“Now everyone yell Pull! and I’ll pull the other way.”

“Quark wormhole. Quark wormhole.”

Both of these were great ideas, but neither worked—just some boredom and a couple torn hamstrings, just news vans with cables and cameras and little to report. Except rent beyond the reach of most incomes now. And laws taking voting from the voters now. And heat domes over the Yukon now.

“We oughtta shoot a nuke at the sun,” a man said, “or else troll it on the inter—”

But before he could finish his thought, the day began again.



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 Figures, The Last Tiger is Somewhere, The Book of Sharksand 88 Maps.

Read an interview with Rob Carney appearing in “The Ocean is Full of Questions.”
Read Rob Carney’s Letter to America in Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy, published by and Trinity University Press.
Read poetry by Rob Carney appearing in 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 Henning Sørby, courtesy Shutterstock. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.