Graveyard Rose3 min read

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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.

Seanan McGuire

Seanan McGuire

Seanan 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 at www.seananmcguire.com, on Twitter as @seananmcguire, or on Tumblr as seananmcguire.tumblr.com.
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