You wondered, had a storm torn
those branches but decided their lopping
was too regular, strategic, too even
for an animal’s bite, or lightning.
Had a benign tree-surgeon
stripped branches for the sun’s return:
end-weight slashed for new bark in spring
or had frost’s conspiracy with freeze-seal air stunned
with a death blow sharper than chain-saw
or axe? On Christmas Eve, the tree,
with its squiggled haphazard
glitter made sky shapes peel
themselves from the frames of twigs, then flying,
let old stars begin their dying.