Dorothy Faces the Tornado | Meggie Royer

He called her bruja so she prayed day in and day out
over hemlock and wart of toad
that he would let her leave. Braided ribbons of thorn
into her hair in lieu of satin. At night it purled and crawled

over the pillows and through his bownecked legs,
but never strangled him in sleep
as she hoped it would.
The yellow road could be seen from the door.
He built it brick by brick, muscles straining with sweat
as he laid & laid & laid each piece into earth,
eyeing her like coins as she longed through the window.
He used to hold her against the sink, nails into skin,
making her watch. Polishing her down to the bone.
Would open the latch but catch her by the throat
when she tried to escape.
He called her rubble & she wondered
if it felt just like gold, soft beneath her red heels.
One day the house swept itself into smithereens;
it threw the bathtub into the sky and every Budweiser can
into the orchards.
That cyclone of ravish & tremble, that tornado of dust
and spit, its thrashing claws, its spiral of bomb & wind.
It took him in its arms, that cyclone did,
it uprooted him from the remains of their home.
Catching his ankle at first, she thought better,
and let him go.


Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, The Harpoon Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and more. She has won national medals for her poetry and a writing portfolio in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and was the Macalester Honorable Mention recipient of the 2015 Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Prize. She blogs at

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.