The scientific instruments scientific by law


and the laws feed on only the highest and coldest mountain peaks. Streaks of god here and there. Mingling a man sees among the blue and red cliffs the blue red darknesses leaking from the gorge.

The minor lives preordained in hunger. Quiet.

Cold tightens the caravan.

Waterfalls twisted into ice pillars. Spruce trees he can’t believe.


He bends his hands over his most precarious work. Birds beak-down in paper cones. Sawdust dried blood a mist of arsenic. A small selection of knives.

Frozen. To skin it the laws of living are required. The bird in his palms tight and he imagines the door. What opens will open. The columns the colossus.

An animal ripe among animals he knows instinct versus intention in his hands.

Storm everywhere. Not sight without snow. Not saving. Instruments entangle the membrane tears. From the science of it, an unforgivable fluid.

The reds and blues impinge. Wingspan the limit horizon he searches for the door.

He finds numbers in every angle.

Angles of directional light and pitted light. The hinge of a beak fixed in time.

His tools precise and failing.


Cold rubs the quiet in.

He parts the brain from skull the red eye from its light.

He measures his measures. The lives of dead angles.

Every angle is terrible.

Firmament wings and a small iridescence. Massive by shadows. Gathering the numbers the
terribles. Snow mounting the tents a man is lost in what is not.

He looks among the law and its reticence. His desire stretches over the blue red gorge torn. The
yaks failing. The light. Snow.

A man is duplicative process. His knowledge is a process of small implosions.
In his hands numbers beget numbers beget names. Someone new.

He stitches the belly tight his pride like a small prize above him.

The kept bird looks for another way out.

From 1934-36, German zoologist and SS officer Ernst Schäfer and American naturalist Brooke Dolan II conducted a natural history expedition across Tibet and China—their second of the decade. They collected roughly 3,000 birds over the course of this trip, including species and subspecies new to Linnaean taxonomy. The birds were then transported back to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, where they remain today.

Jan Verberkmoes is a poet and editor from Oregon. She is an editor of Propeller Books Contemporary Poetry Series and is co-founder of the micropress Condensery:. She received an MFA from the University of Mississippi, where she was a John and Renée Grisham Fellow. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Stadler Fellowship, and two Fulbright Fellowships, she is now pursuing her Ph.D. in Creative Writing at the University of Denver. Her first poetry collection, Firewatch, was published by Fonograf Editions in 2021.