A Tree Falls in Texas


Connie Zumpf

We didn’t give a thought to the possibility
      of demise
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,
      and us,
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 MagazineChristian 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.

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