her smile is bloody from thorns pinning it in place

the rose of her long since dead, but


the thorns stayed behind in memoriam, jagged

headstones that look happy in the lowlight —


that dusk effect, blurry edge, deepened haze

that ghosts call alarm clock;


roses look so lovely at dusk, all those velvet layers

in velvet light, switchblades thinly sheathed in dim green;


roses have no use for subtlety,

and thorns never forget anything,


and ghosts know better than to

disturb something bleeding;

EMILY DOLAN is an American poet currently living in Seville, Spain. Her work has been previously published in The Mangrove Review, and when she isn’t writing or playing professional soccer, she can be found trying to befriend feral alley cats with cans of tuna and honest conversation.