A Pale Fire of Roses

It’s a child’s game: knock on the door and run away.
Each time she looked out, she couldn’t see who’d knocked.
Reporting it felt foolish: it’s only a knock on the door.

Fourth time and there’s a bunch of flowers on the window ledge.
Yellow so they show in the dark. A beacon, ‘I’m watching you’.
Her mother says they’re a nice gesture, a botched apology.

A phone message says he doesn’t want to kill her and won’t.
But he might kill himself. He can’t live without her and it’s her
fault. She’ll have to prepare to literally live without him.

The police tell her she’s wasting their time.
When they’re called next, she is lying
in a blood-red bloom. The flowers have been burnt.



Emma Lee’s publications include The Significance of a Dress (Arachne, 2020) and Ghosts in the Desert (IDP, 2015). She co-edited Over Land, Over Sea, (Five Leaves, 2015), was Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib, reviews for magazines and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com.