All day the oak came down. The bright air glinted
With fine red sawdust as with locust wings.
The man ascending via the zigzag-jointed
Arm of the cherry-picker breathed the shavings.
Shadow on sunlight, he leaned out with his blade.
One branch collapsed. Men handed it to the ground
As, in a triptych, they might have eased the crucified
Christ down to His mother, one torn hand
Swung loose, to signify the finished riving
Of soul from flesh. Again the saw’s raw whine.
Limbs drifted free in showers of leaves and dust.
Late in the day, the shorn trunk fell at last
And shook the house. On the front steps, then, the men
Sat smoking, easy again among the living.
Sally Thomas is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Fallen Water (2015) and Richeldis of Walsingham (2016), both from Finishing Line Press. Her book Motherland was a finalist for the Able Muse Book Award and is forthcoming from Able Muse Press later in 2019.