Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2023  Vol. 21  No.3
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview

The Felling

Clearing land for his father
and ordered to cut down
the horse chestnut tree

in full bloom with blossoms
like cream-colored torches
or candle lamps set at

the edges of the branches,
he pauses a moment
with the teeth of the saw

embedded enough to keep
the tool in place and thinks
of all that is just beginning

ending and cries through
the cutting as the saw
starts the zing and yaw

and the zing and yaw of
work that sings and calls
sings and calls until the tree

wavers and leans in the pause
and the boy backs off
as the tree cracks and keens

like a man just shot will stop
to look around as he falls
amazed leaning in the pause.

return to top