Common Tern, 21. Scarlet Tanager, 3.
by Jennifer Clark
One afternoon in 1886, ornithologist Frank Chapman—
whether a distant relative or not—will observe women
in the wild, strolling along streets of New York City,
a spectacular parade of 700 hats bobbing atop
their heads, 543 doused with wings, breasts,
and colourful corpses of native birds.

Waxwing, 23.
Snow Bunting, 15.
Golden-winged Woodpecker, 21.
Tree-Sparrow, 2.

His list soars.

In two more decades, the last
of the passenger pigeons
and Carolina Parakeets
will be snatched
from the skies.

For now, though, appetites
for apples have yet given way
to bird as John Chapman strides
along native-made trails,
comes upon a trove

of Carolina Parakeets—
bright beacons of yellow
atop emerald bodies,
raucous jewels
that bedeck the trees.

A thousand wings soar,
John’s heart pounds.
The birds,
the West,