I doubt not but this trade seems very barbarous to you, but since it is followed by mere necessity, it must go on…. Captain Willem Bosman, transporter of slaves, 1705
The bigness of a tame Pigeon, the Bird
is ash-colored with a short red tail
and the under-feathers when examined
leave a finest powder on the fingers.
The legs and feet are formed as in other Parrots
but the scaly skin is black
as are the hooked bill and tongue.
I drew this Bird from life, and it survives
as property of Sir Hans Sloane.
Although this Bird does not sing
and has a voice of natural harshness,
it greets its Master and repeats his words.
These Parrots are known in London as Guinea Birds,
coming from the Coast of Africa,
having been brought here by the Traders
that supply our Sugar Islands with Negroes
and gather additional Exotics on their way.
Sherry Rind is the author of five collections of poetry. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Anhinga Press, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission, and King County Arts Commission. Her most recent book is Between States of Matter from The Poetry Box Select Series, 2020.