A journal of art + literature engaging with nature, culture, the environment & ecology

The Birdwatcher’s Corkboard

Ann Ang, Singapore

Dead wings or living feathers,

he counts them in flight

against skies wrung with pastels

and traffic babble. Black-naped orioles

are yellow pips in tree-stubble.


The butterflies he finds in the grass

or on the cement path, winking

slow defiant colour:

flightless scales weightless

in the carriage of his palm.


Liking or not liking does not come into

the careful placing of pins. They hold

this slow-stirring tropical palette

breathing, under office air-conditioning,


with remembrance as old as

the building is new. The birdwatcher sits,

eyeing this refrigerated spring,

knowing that for some,

trees are seen only through windows.

Ann Ang’s poetry has appeared in the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (QLRS), the California Quarterly and the Jakarta Post. She is also the author of Bang My Car (Math Paper Press, 2012), a Singlish-English collection of short stories, which has received complaints for being excessively funny. Ann is pursuing a DPhil in English at Oxford.

Angelina Bong on “Crystal Tears” (Malaysia)