The Great Catalpa

by Ann Iverson

In winter, it held its arms
like a woman
with a broken heart
or man without work. 
In spring
when the wind had its way
we thought
it snowed in May.
Most days I think
if I cannot honor a tree
then to what
will I pay homage?
To God.
To serendipity.
That by chance
He gave us trees?
No. Nor
was it by chance
that He gave us
souls or feet or flowers.
Or by chance
He gave us male and female
and all the miracles
that pertain therein.
In summer, it showed no age
or anticipation of demise.
It held its beauty quietly
like water in a glass.
It finally fell one fall
like a stormy adolescent
all disorder came about
in our hearts and in our yard. 
It took four to cut down
what remained.
Then they carried her away:
limb by limb, branch by branch
leaf against ever loving leaf.

Ann Iverson is a writer and artist and the author of five poetry collections. She is a graduate of both the MALS and the MFA programs at Hamline University. Her poems have appeared in a wide variety of journals and venues, including six features on The Writer’s Almanac. She is also the author and illustrator of two children’s storybooks. As a visual artist, she enjoys the integrated relationship between the visual image and the written image. Her art work has been featured in several art exhibits as well as in a permanent installation at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital. She is currently working on her sixth collection of poems, a book of children’s verse, and a collection of personal essays.

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