Emily Dickinson wrote "Whose cheek is this?" in the early 1850s as a meditation on the fragile beauty of life and the strangeness of death. The poem's speaker likens a dead flower in the woods to a once rosy cheek that has lost its "blush." Carrying the flower home for safekeeping, the speaker thinks of an old folk tale in which robins covered the bodies of children who died in the woods with leaves. In the end, the speaker can't decide whether the flower looks more like a "cheek" or a "pall" (the cloth laid over a coffin or tomb), perhaps suggesting that the line between life and death isn't as distinct as people might believe. Dickinson originally sent the poem to her friend and sister-in-law, Susan Dickinson, together with a small flower and an illustration of a robin.