Briar Rose travels light

The room is always the same,
a small table, the wood grained, a view
of the garden, overlooking the roses.

She has been here before or maybe
not here exactly but a place not at all
unlike in memory.

She undresses, makes it feel as if
she is peeling away life after life
until she is as bare as the room

but more charred, just her naked body
and the needle-marks that she carries
like keepsakes of forgotten places.

Home is a long trail on her left leg,
hardly anything there; a first love
(of which nothing needs to remain

unless perhaps the thought of old
hands guiding hers, the joy of making
something real) a pinpoint near her chest.

She glares at the mirror, her lips bloodless,
eyes of stained steel. She has wearied
the past like a map. She knows where

it takes her and she knows there isn’t
anything there she wants saved. Night falls,
an old friend. Soon she’ll wrap herself

in a crisp sheet and try not to think
where it has been before.