Pamela Carter


Remember my schedules, 

color coded, fixing x— 

number of hours to draft 

this paper, read that 

assigned text, 

solve those problem sets, 

even minutes to spend at breakfast?


Remember how I never, once, 

carried out one of those 

elaborate concoctions for more 

than half a day, yet crafted them, 

all through college? (Or, 

maybe I kept that secret, embarrassed 

by my lack of self-enforcement.)


Remember dancing 

to Joan Armatrading … 

“Hey, when I get it right, 

will you tell me, please?”, spinning 

and jumping around our room, inventing

our friendship? Hey, when I get it right, 

will you tell me, please? 


Remember we danced and sang

daily, crammed like maniacs

during exams, cried telling our pasts, 

bought one Plato and shared,

ran off our known map

into the mysterious blank,

but made it back before dark?


Remember our choosing to room

together, on the fly, and proving 

doubters stupid with our synchrony?

Choosing, next, knowingly?

Then, remember, you 

followed me, for grad school, 

to Bloomington?


Remember, you’ve written nothing, 

for thirty years—never phoned,

though moved across an ocean and a sea, 

as if none of us outside your sect

existed, mattered or ever were—

defected? That’s how I see it. Notice, 

the present tense. Do you sense


how wrong I am; how correct 

your choices, decreed, circumspect, 

while I still mess 

with Wednesday, 

inking in impossibilities 

as if

everything will fit?



the daughter hears 

her mother harp 

about each hummingbird



at her cherry red 

plastic feeder (hanging 

from lopped plum branch) 

and hopes this is no forecast 

of her future 


before her eyes 

because her mother 

reminds her wholly too much 

of her hazy-brained grandmother 

every day


and holding forth on 

the feathered hosts 

hurrying in to the feeders

hung by her uncle

at her grandmother’s 

bedroom window 

so from her comfy chair

the ninety-year-old 

may have what a hazy brain 

can harbor

movement    beauty       hue

and while every hummingbirds'

visit within their fence astonishes

with his haze-wings 

his quick drinks

his crimson breast

his needly beak

his vertical flight

his stronger resemblance

to bee than bird

none is enough 

for the daughter

who hopes her mother's mind

will hold more than haze

and hover