on cutting down that norway pine

by Vernoy Johnson

it really only took me three full hours —
four at the very most —
to notch and fell that tree and limb her,
cut the trunk to lengths and quarter them,
and stack the pieces neatly up between two trees,
in even geometric piles.
three or four quick hours
undid the work — the magnificent work! —
of thirty-seven years
(i counted, sadly, every ring).
and i cried real tears when she was falling,
and i felt like a murderer.

Vernoy Johnson is a retired mathematics teacher living in California.

See all articles by Vernoy Johnson