Pamela Hobart Carter

Last week with my daughter, I ran the track
at Hiawatha, unable again to count laps with accuracy.
What is this inability, this absence
of connection to a simple reality
played over a few slow circles around
a tiny area? Was that four or five times passing
the young family in the sideline gravel
under the landmarked oak? My mental tangles
begin by the second loop, my lament
more serious than the current happening.
Why can’t I hold on to the facts
through which I’m moving, the habits
I’m cultivating? What is this caravan
of thoughts?—Anxieties and angers,
grief and meta-grief at being alone
on this coast unable to disperse mom’s ashes,
pain from a spine still lodged in my hand
from the cactus, a rampage
of mixed emotions—delight at first glimpse of ancestors
never seen before, in aging photographs
sent in a giant package from my aunt, and sadness—
this trove has only arrived
because all trace of us must be eradicated
at the old house. It’s an exaggeration
to suggest this is running. I laugh
at myself. Meanwhile my girl catches
me up and goes by and I add
another trip, and Black Lives Matter
marches into my thinking. Seattle
in this July cannot extract
itself from spring cool and damp.
I had to check the Monet calendar hanging
by my desk to affirm the month. How did I ever imagine
I could grasp something as complex as a ramble?

About the Author

For 30+ years, Pamela Hobart Carter taught science, art, and preschool. On the side she wrote plays, poems, fiction, and non-fiction. Now she writes full-time and teaches on the side. A dozen of her plays have been read or staged in Seattle (where she lives), Montreal (where she grew up), and Fort Worth (where she has only visited). She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Kelsay Books published her first chapbook, Her Imaginary Museum, in 2020. Finishing Line Press will publish her second in 2021. Carter has two degrees in geology—from Bryn Mawr College and Indiana University.