Twists of Fate by Ralph La Rosa

Twists of Fate

Feverish from dog-day heat,
I drive the five of us through air
so still it feels like death—our father’s
writhing on a clinic bed
and only I know the prognosis.
The sky grows gray. My radio
reports tornados twisting south
along Ann Arbor Road. The mirrors
show one drilling down, a wraith,
its strophic-antistrophic dance
a black ballet that’s catastrophic.
Cursing, I turn into The Inn.
We rush downstairs with panicked guests,
perhaps soon ghosts. The building groans,
wrenched by wind. Its chandeliers
spin, spit sparks like baleful stars.
Cringing from this random wrath,
the others pray and plead. I laugh.

by Ralph La Rosa, first published in Ghost Trees

Editor’s Note: The careful line breaks in this poem emphasize the vivid imagery, and sharpen the emotional difficulty faced by the narrator and his family.