Standing In The Stand

He didn’t know the thrill

of the kill, but he knew


he didn’t want to kill

the thrill for his father.


Everything in him felt scared,

told him not to do it—


words he could not echo.

He sat in the tree stand


with his coloring books,

glanced up if something


quieted the loud silence.

The father knew that all


books are coloring books,

that knees on hills tell


time better than clocks

on walls, that a bullet


and a mountain are about

the same size. But here


was the best shot

to pass something down:


Stand up slowly, son.

This is your time.


Cameron Conaway is the author of 5 books, including Malaria, Poems, which was a “Best Book of 2014” by NPR. His work as a journalist has appeared in Newsweek, The Guardian, and Stanford Social Innovation Review. Conaway helps creative teams focus at He’s on Twitter @CameronConaway.