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Emma Lee



the poet

Poet and reviewer Emma Lee is the author of The Significance of a Dress and Ghosts in the Desert. She was Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib, and the co-editor of Over Land, Over Sea: an anthology of poems expressing solidarity with refugees crossing the Mediterranean on small boats and rafts. Emma's poetry has featured in many print and online journals including Fevers of the Mind, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Clear Poetry and more.

the poems

The Bridal Dresses
in Beirut

00:00 / 00:41

                        Each dress hangs from a noose.

                        One is plain satin with scalloped lace,

                        another an orgy of tulle,

                        dreamy organza with appliqué flowers

                        hanging from wire 

                        strung between palm trees.

                        One is short, a shift with a tulip skirt,

                        the sort of dress picked

                        in a hurry to satisfy a shotgun

                        or Article 522.

                        The breeze breathes through them,

                        bullies the dresses into ghosts,

                        brides with no substance,

                        angels bereft of their voices.

What the Dust Left

After art installation

The Fading Afterglow of Creation

by Dave Briggs and Jack Squires

00:00 / 01:10

                        A screen sculpts a crumpled mass

                        in an empty house, a 3-D image that 

                        takes the shape of what could be a heart.

                        A sci-fi trope: machines outliving us.

                        We all hope what will survive of us 

                        is not the pile of admin, worthless warranties,

                        the embarrassing tweet, the spilt coffee,

                        but our Insta life, our filtered wishes.

                        The sculpture is not the easy outline

                        of an emoji, but the complexity 

                        of valves, veins, a possibility

                        of an organ, a human's engine.

                        Here, what's left is our digital footprint,

                        the avatar we taught to fight, scavenge, collect.

                        Playerless it repeats the same responses, contact

                        only from bots, a drift of binary lint.

                        It's the unedited part of us that decided

                        who we touched. The digital heart

                        waits for us to breathe emotion into it,

                        sculpting the memory of what it most wanted.

The Wrapped Hedges

00:00 / 01:26

                  It looks as if a fog has whirled around the hedges,

                  wrapping them in a swirl of candy floss like a fleece

                  protecting them from frost. The implication is the hedges

                  will be unwrapped to show a healthy growth, firm stems,

                  perfectly green leaves, branches stretched in welcome.

                  The covering takes on the texture of a regular weave,

                  as if a team of spiders had worked solidly for months,

                  but the structure is too crude to be natural, too regular

                  to constructed by anything but a programmed machine.

                  It reflects a grid of lines running from left to right

                  with rectangular holes. If laid flat, it would represent

                  a map of a housing estate, plans made by those seeking

                  to enrich themselves on the grounds councils cannot

                  demonstrate they have an adequate housing supply,

                  that somehow executive, four bedroom homes,

                  beyond the pockets of those on waiting lists, will meet

                  and it’s fine to build in the country out of reach

                  of public transport and amenities but it’s just these

                  birds who will prevent building during the nesting

                  season that are the problem. So man-made webs

                  are their suggested solution; mimic nature to prevent it.

Publishing credits

The Wedding Dresses in Beruit: The Significance of a Dress

  (Arachne Press)

What the Dust Left Uncovered: After... (December 8th 2022)

The Wrapped Hedges: exclusive first publication by iamb


S h a r e

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