We didn’t give a thought to the possibility
when spring called us out
for lunch and champagne
under a canopy
of strapping Texas cottonwood trees.
A moment’s turn, a sway, a snap,
spangle of light
on shade. One tree cracked
the idyll of the afternoon, fell
in slow glide through viscous air
like Tosca willing herself over
the parapet—we’ll never know whether
in triumph or surrender—
its splendid green death a colossal
entanglement of limbs, branches,
leaves, the dreadlocks of its crown.
How carefully staged, its fall
choreographed around fences, houses, cars,
the grand finish over before we had time
to imagine our afternoon’s end.
The tree with its thousand leaf-green eyes
could not see it coming,
and neither did we—as we sat,
certain of the ground, champagne in hand,
haloed in the living sun.
Connie Zumpf lives and writes in Denver, Colorado. Her poems have appeared in New Ohio Review, Pilgrimage Magazine, Christian Century, Medical Literary Messenger, and Persimmon Tree. She recently completed her first manuscript as part of the Poetry Book Project with Lighthouse Writers Workshop, where she is a longtime member.