Pamela Hobart Carter


Before them, briefly, an insect—winged, enormous, noisy—hovers in their faces, 
reminds them of prehistoric dragonflies that spanned two feet, 
recorded in Carboniferous-era coal. 

The father with his daughter—or maybe it’s a woman with her son— 
stop in their rain forest walk, say, in Costa Rica, at this buzzing 
blocking their way.

Glad for a corroborating witness, more for self-belief than for recounting later,
the parent’s eyes meet the child’s when the creature leaves them 
in the silent moist heat. 

Years after, when the child works, say, at Microsoft as a software engineer, 
they remember the encounter as a suspension of ordinary time, 
an intersection with truth. 

Life meeting life. 

How is it she—let’s just accept the parent is a mother, the child, a man now— 
is tearless, sun heating her back, as their sweet dog, deaf 
to the mail carrier, rests his unmoving head 

against the iron table leg during the phone call to bring the animal doctor 
who will end the sweet dog’s life? Why, in the sweet dog’s 
last hours, isn’t she lying beside him, 

encircling him in her arms, wetting his fur with her crying? She is now. 
She is now beside him on the floor. 
In a text she tells her son, 

We are saying goodbye at noon, and he writes back, He is a good dog, 
say goodbye for me. She does. And she kisses 
his soft fur head. 


Yesterday, kyanite blue 
and black, a Leviathan 
— at least five inches long — 
flew over the rail, buzzed 
and bumped and bumped 
against the balcony glass 
before escaping again 
while I spoke 
on the phone to Aunt Bee 
who had just told me 
about her resident snapping turtle, 
her morning’s hawk sighting, 
the new legs 
on her pool’s pollywogs. 

The reverberation 
of her voice in my life 
since my tadpole days,
in my body’s smallest bones, 
amplifies our history 
of love, our longing 
to catalog wonders 
we witness, to make 
her imagination mine,
to make mine hers. Of course, 
I tell her of the dragonfly,
and the dragonfly
buzzes permanently 
into her own 
intimate experience.


      I am jealous of the syrinx, the ability / to sing two notes at once, /
      to harmonize with the self. 
     Rebecca Hart Olander, “Avian Envy” from Hedge Apple

I take piano lessons to scare myself 
and I am scared

of the music today, also jealous
of the 12-year-old at the recital,

the girl who sits so straight on her bench
and smiles through everything. Syrinx pleaded

with the river nymphs to assist
her escape. Their ability limited,

they transposed her from flesh to reed—
no longer fleet. But they let her sing

like two women—or a choir, even— 
in synchronous notes when winds visit

at water’s edge. Her rhizomes
journey through damp mud, once rock,

carried from upstream. To Pan, who stalked her,
her hollowness a gift, to harmonize with breezes 

in nearby thickets, with mountain gusts. 
The Bach, does it only look tough? 

With my fingers, my self quavers suspended chords.

Pamela Hobart Carter is a teacher, artist, and writer. She has two geology degrees. Her plays have been read or produced in Seattle (her home), Montreal (her childhood home) and Fort Worth (never her home). She is the author of three poetry chapbooks: Her Imaginary Museum (Kelsay Books, 2020), Held Together with Tape and Glue (Finishing Line Press, 2021), and Only Connect (forthcoming from ShabdAaweg Press).A Covid-times activity: adding make-a-poem-at-home lessons to her website:

Twitter: @Pamhobartcarter

Instagram: @pamela.hobart.carter


Flights, Issue Six, September 2022