Mountain, sky

The Boy on the Mountain

By Rob Carney

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Old Roads, New Stories: A Literary Series

No one could remember why they left the boy on the mountain. Some thought he must have been a sacrifice so the snow caps wouldn’t avalanche. Others recalled it had something to do with the sky, or the distant look in his eyes and never tears.

Though it didn’t really matter; so long as the boy stayed up there, things were fine and the whole town could prosper: commerce and progress, no bears below the tree line, and Chance might take them off to college or Hawai‘i, off to learning or swimming near a manta ray, this life-shape appearing beside them, gliding by… all thanks to the boy on the mountain.

If anyone wondered what he saw from up there, whether stars or just their headlights, nobody asked, and, anyway, what could he tell them—“I see you even when your lives are small”? or, “I see this valley after you”? or maybe, “All of Creation is a hawk. I’m watching it fly.”




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 image by Ulises Moreno, courtesy Pixabay. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.