Poetry ~ Emma Lee
Is Our Digital Side Our Best?
I adjust the lamp to highlight
my better side for the video meeting,
having chosen a blank backdrop
over the clutter of bookshelves
and sentimental ornaments.
The dread of an important point
being swallowed by a zero
instead of broadcast by a one.
We restrict gesticulating while talking,
yet give muted applause
rather than click an animation.
Like digital versions of songs
recorded in analogue,
the pixels feel a little too clean,
a little too angular, lacking
the curved warmth,
the imperfections of spontaneity,
the hint of rawness that makes
the disconnect, the meeting's over
blank screen, more acute.
The Consequences of Not Listening to Girls
A girl is told, 'If he hits you,
he likes you,' by her mother.
Buried in teen magazines, her friend
says, 'If he teases you, he loves you.'
In a crowded restaurant, diners' applause
downs out her response to his proposal.
When she shows her mother her split lip,
she's told, 'He didn't mean it.'
When she shows her friend her black eye,
her friend tells her, 'It was an accident.'
When she reports her broken rib to the police,
she's asked what she did to provoke him.
At her simple funeral, the mourners
express shock at news of his arrest.
A girl drops a rose on her mother's grave
and declares she'll never marry.
'Oh, you'll change your mind,' says her grandmother.
'You'll find your prince,' says her mother's friend.
I'm too afraid to keep living
I shoved a fiver at him.
What makes homeless people who have nothing
decide to keep living,
to get up tomorrow
to face the same battles as they faced
My wedding photo
sits on my desk, next to one of my children.
still send shivers
up my spine. I have more than I need
but can't face tomorrow.
a Dad who's present. A husband who isn't
an empty shell.
That part of me
I hid. I can't bring to daylight. The boy
who wanted to play.
The boy who
wanted to be a footballer, who couldn't refuse
when coach said stay,
How can I protect my boy when I couldn't
I touch my wife's face.
It feels like a photograph behind glass.
My kids too.
The beam in the garage
will support my weight. I've not bought
the rope, yet.
I'm not homeless.
I don't know how many tomorrows I can face,
how long I can battle.
Wearing Midnight's Sorrow
I shall wear midnight
in a dress that shapes me
as a woman men buy single
roses for but never take home.
I will sing in a whisper
suited only to intimate venues.
He will claim to be in love,
will write long laments
about moonlit flowers
and traces of perfume.
But never the colour
of my favourite dress.
I will flit at my favoured time,
sing yet another torch song,
take another lover
who will trace my shape,
tell me I'm beautiful
but leave me ghost.
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), is Poetry Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib, reviews for magazines and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com.