3 poems from Emma Lee

photo from unsplash

all previously published in The Blue Nib

Understanding Ghosts
(i.m. GWJ 22/10/1954 – 09/09/14)

Hold your head up; you’ve got a pretty face
Yours: reddened by alcohol in your belly.
You’ve just jolted me from my memory 
of a novelist telling me I shouldn’t hide trace
of a published poem just because the period
was for stories. He thought evil lacked lustre, 
wanted to look at the person who saw ogres,
even if told in the form of a ballad.

I thought he could see my ghosts, the crippling 
self-doubt. His gruff impatience was saved
for those who were lazy, unimpeded. 
He knew some writers needed nurturing.
I’m weighed with the loss of a talent
you will not stain by your ugly intent.



The Colours of a Panther

"I saw a black panther," a voice on the radio. 
A so-called expert repeats it. I change stations. 
What other colour would a panther be?
Harborough's countryside is hedged green fields.
The shadows merge into significance.
The radio is now off. I wanted the throb 
of a cello undercut with yearning, not commercial pop.
Cats are adaptable and secretive,
content in their own company and a patch of sun.
Easy to let my imagination run with the suggestion.
I pull into town, run errands, until I'm caught.
It should be a simple decision: a pizza.
There's your favourite, but I want my choice
if only I knew what that was. A man, who doesn't
look like you, stares. I'm his way. I grab,
stumble to the checkout and pay, slump into my car,
hands, clumsy with keys, paw at the wheel.
Black is never just black. I don't remember 
my drive home, only that I was alone.
I discover the pizza I snatched wasn't 
your favourite as I put it in the oven.
There's a shadow where you used to stand.
A smear like silky fur on my cheek.
My heart feels as if it's been clawed.
Maybe panthers don't just come in black.

A smudge of cinders

My teacher looked at me as if breezeblock
wasn't a word she knew. 
I had pushed my sock down. 
It was itching the scabs on my leg.
A breezeblock had fallen 
from the stack in the yard.
I splashed cold water on my scraped skin.
My mother said to leave it.
My teacher asked if I'd seen a doctor.
I frowned. We weren't to bother him.
My teacher held her pendant 
and ran it back and forth along its chain. 
I wanted to wet a paper towel 
and dab it to cool the cuts,
but I'd been taught not 
to interrupt an adult's thinking.
I pushed the other sock down so it matched.
My teacher seemed to have forgotten me.
I crossed my fingers that she wouldn't 
speak to my mother.
I was supposed to keep my cuts hidden
by pulling my socks up.

Poem: Tracing a Love Song by Emma Lee




By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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