Spires to the Sun
Ralph C. La Rosa

"They're like
three Christmas trees!"

A tourist at Rodia's Towers in Watts

They're like three Christmas trees?

Well, yes they are,
and whatever else your fancy finds in them.

Maybe they are three oriental kings;
and some might see the Sacred Trinity;
some others find the holy Family.

But Sam would wince if anyone should say
his towers had religious resonance.


A parish priest insisted that they did,
and pointed to the cross atop a tower.

Sam said he liked the way it caught the light,

but replaced it with a Winged Victory.

Spires to the Sun

Of course, that was Sam, a chameleon,
his mind mercurial.

Each day, he reconceived the towers' shapes and textures.

At times, they loomed as masts and minarets,
as soaring spires of Notre Dame cathedrals,
or flaming tongues; yes even Christmas trees--


he decorated them with dazzling shards
of multicolored glass, mirrors that mirror
each other and dance beneath the sun and stars,
refracting all the fire of man and nature: