Emma Lee – A Long-Awaited Angel

A Long-Awaited Angel

He longed for the snow he’d read stories about:
a white dazzle that renewed the landscape.
The new ice rink in Harare opened too late for him.
His adopted country only had one season: winter.
Warmth faded as he learnt the difference between
drizzle and mizzle, and how damp embraced.
He dreamt of catching snowflakes on his skin,
a carpet of desiccated coconut softening
the hard lines of concrete and bare trees.
He rubbed his eyes at the blanket of sequins
that had fallen and rushed out to touch, to taste,
to fill hungry sight, hear the crunch under his feet,
then slipped onto his back, arms and legs sprawled
to make a rough angel. He didn’t know
if it was her or the snow that shivered him.


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

Emma Lee – A Blanket of Sound

A Blanket of Sound

There is no such thing as silence.
Even when still, our blood pumps,
our heart beats, we breathe, we are alive.

A consistent noise can be tuned out.
It’s the unpredictable ones that distract:
water drips with tortuous, uneven gaps.

In a still hotel room, guests move in the corridor,
the traffic hums, revellers whoop, heels clatter,
keypads are pressed, electronic locks bleep.

The closest we get to silence
is that swallowed cry, a mark of respect
for someone robbed of life.

Or that briefest of moments
after a gasp at a sheer granite rock
or breath-stealing waterfall.

This room has a speaker that plays
white noise, thunder rumbles (distant),
waves on a beach, constant rain on a roof.

But when I curl on the bed, I don’t want
the disconnect of soothing sounds.
I want the city’s distractions to drench me.

Emma Lee’s most recent collection is “Ghosts in the Desert” (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2015). She blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com and reviews for Sabotage Reviews, London Grip and The Journal.

Emma Lee – You Told Me You’d Dreamed of Me

You told me you dreamed of me

When you’d showed me a dress
you’d thought I ought to wear,
I’d thought of Sylvia Plath’s “Munich Mannequins”
and memorised the number for Human Resources.

You tell me, even though I’m not really listening,
that in your dream I’m wearing floaty florals
(something I’d never choose.)
We’re discussing poetry.
(I’m ignoring your monologue.)
Somehow I sit on your lap, spilling flowers.
A kiss is involved. You tell me
I’ve got nothing to worry about.

My stomach slushes like snow
stamped on by muddy footprints.
I plan my daily routine so I am never
in an office area alone with you.
My voice has melted.
What I want to say is frozen in thin air.

Emma Lee – Do It Yourself

Do It Yourself

When Vivaldi randomly interrupted by news flashes
is a form of water torture you wouldn’t wish on your frenemy.

When the courier says “between one and three”
you know it’ll be nearer three and maybe half past.

When you spend your time picking
short, interruptible chores instead of getting stuff done.

When the courier says “this is your time slot,” not “is this convenient?”
subtext: make it convenient or we’ll put you back in the queue.

When you can no longer tell a recorded message
from the live, call-centre singsong of a human.

When your peripheral vision improves
because you’ve always one eye on the clock.

When an automatic response says you’ll get a response in two weeks
and you wonder if you’re supposed to follow them up

or if this is an internal procedure notice leaking from a building
where you’re treated as if you’re a zero hours contract temp

who somehow miraculously knows the employee manual.
Where you know you will get processed but never answered.

Emma Lee – She’s given up fixing the broken window pane

She’s given up fixing the broken window pane

Instead she gets her three children to paint

the board covering it,

their chatter mingles with chart music

as she smokes in the yard, door open

so she can still watch them,

before the evening ritual of bath and bed

in clean linen and a story from

the youngest’s father, willing to adopt

the two that weren’t his.

Then she’ll close the curtains over the broken pane

and drift into the back room and TV,

which still won’t drown out

the eldest father’s drunken melody

as he arrives, demanding to see his son.

She tosses a coin: does she open the door

to a torrent of swearing and try and calm him

or does she phone the police, again?

Emma Lee – I woke up in someone else’s life.

I woke up in someone else’s life.


I developed a phobia about leaving home

without being fully made-up.


Discovered a beauty and gym regime

that took three hours a day.


Found I could walk in platformed stilettos

and dresses with tight, short skirts.


Forgot the nuances of poetry

in favour the unambiguity of an auto-cue.


Learnt that a Californian sun-kissed skin

(spray tanned) should not wear a deep claret


or allow a square-jawed, would-be celebrity

to remove the dress, lick where wine spilt on skin.


Better publicity is won by looking available,

but not by being available.


Yesterday is history. Surface glitter is seductive,

but fades on the second date.


When you’re among stars it’s easy to forget

the gutter is but a broken heel away.


Emma Lee’s “Mimicking a Snowdrop” is forthcoming from Thynks Press and “Yellow Torchlight and the Blues” is available from Original Plus. She blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com and is a blogger-reviewer for Simon and Schuster. She also reviews for The Journal, Elsewhere, London Grip and Sabotage Review magazines.

Emma Lee – Dress Code for Live Music

Dress Code for Live Music


Skinny or boyfriend jeans?

Clingy tank or baggy tee?

Heeled knee highs or biker boots?

Go brunette or stay blonde?

Make-up: minimal.

Is geeky eyewear unappealing

or do I look vulnerable?


Beer or fruit juice?

One in three rapes happen

when the woman’s drunk,

so two of three happen

when she’s sober,

that makes drinking safer, surely??


Start again: jeans, sweatshirt,

slipper-socks, make-up free,

slump on the sofa

and watch it all on TV.


Emma Lee’s “Mimicking a Snowdrop” is forthcoming from Thynks Press and “Yellow Torchlight and the Blues” is available from Original Plus. She blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com and is a blogger-reviewer for Simon and Schuster. She also reviews for The Journal, Elsewhere, London Grip and Sabotage Review magazines.