Graveyard Rose

by on May 6, 2014 in Poetry | 1 comment

It was sometime after midnight, with five hundred miles to go

When I pulled into the truck stop looking for a cup of Joe;

I’m a loner by my nature, and a trucker by my trade.

It’s a lucky man can do the things he loves and still get paid.

 

It was just another diner, nothing special, nothing strange,

Just the sort of spot a man can stop when home is out of range.

Just a wide patch on the highway, neon, diesel, glass and chrome.

Not the sort of spectral port of call a good ghost should call home.

 

But she’s never been a good ghost, not for one day in her death;

She stopped playing by the rules the day that she gave up on breath.

She’s the angel of the truck stops; it’s the afterlife she chose.

She’s the flower of the graveyard, she’s our ageless roadside Rose.

 

She was standing in the shadows, neon highlights in her hair,

And I almost walked right by her, never knowing she was there.

She was laughing as she said, “Hey, Mister, help a girl in need?”…

And I don’t know why she chose me, nor the reason I agreed.

 

And the neon traveled with her as she moved to take a seat,

Like a sailor coming home the day his journey is complete.

Don McLean was on the jukebox, belting out his great good–bye;

When I asked her what she’d like, she smiled and said, “I’ll have the pie.”

 

And she’s never been a good ghost, not for one day in her death;

She stopped playing by the rules the day that she gave up on breath.

She’s the angel of the truck stops; it’s the afterlife she chose.

She’s the flower of the graveyard, she’s our ageless roadside Rose.

 

I don’t know just when I knew her, but I knew her all the same,

Because truckers have our legends, and our ghosts have got their fame.

She asked, “So have you guessed my name?” — I answered, “I suppose.”

Then I offered her my hand, and said, “It’s nice to meet you, Rose.”

 

Well, she didn’t seem a bit surprised as she reached for my hand,

And she didn’t have a heartbeat, and she said, “Please understand,

I’m not here to cause you trouble, and this isn’t what you think.

I’m not here to hurt or haunt you. I’m just looking for a drink.”

 

I said “I heard you were a killer,” she said “lies, all lies,

Though it’s true I’m often with a driver, on the night he dies.

For men can sometimes get confused on a road that they don’t know;

They need someone who knows the way and can tell them where to go.

They need someone to steer them straight to where they’re meant to be…

They need a hand to hold the map, and that’s why they need me.

 

And I’ve never been a good ghost, not for one day in my death,

I gave up on playing by the rules when I gave up on breath.

I’ll rove these roads forever — it’s the afterlife I chose —

But I’ll help you if I get the chance…” and I said, “Thank you, Rose.”

 

Well, I drove her to the limits of a town not far away,

And she vanished like a fable at the breaking of the day.

As she slipped away, she kissed my cheek and said, “We’ll meet again…”

And I find that I’m not worried ’bout the how, or ’bout the when.

 

For there’s beauty on the open road a man can learn to find;

Flowers blossom on the median, and fate is sometimes kind.

When it’s time to make the final drive, I won’t be scared at all,

Rose will be right here beside me, all along that final haul.

 

And she’s never been a good ghost, not for one day in her death;

She stopped playing by the rules the day that she gave up on breath.

She’s the angel of the truck stops; it’s the afterlife she chose.

She’s the flower of the graveyard, she’s our ageless roadside Rose.

 

She’s the blossom of the median; she’s the place a lost man goes.

She’s the flower of the graveyard, she’s our ageless roadside Rose.


More from Seanan McGuire:

image018Seanan McGuire, sometimes also known as “Mira Grant,” is the author of more than a dozen urban fantasy and science fiction novels, including the newly released Sparrow Hill Road. She lives in Northern California, in a town with more than a few ghost stories of its own, where she endeavors not to be eaten by her three inordinately large cats. When not at home writing, she is either at a convention or at a Disney Park. She can be found atwww.seananmcguire.com, on Twitter as @seananmcguire, or on Tumblr as seananmcguire.tumblr.com.

1 Comment

  1. Nice! But only three cats? You’re a piker! My babe has seven cats (on weighs 30 lbs.) and is trying to steal another one! 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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