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Don't name your daughter after a song

by Emma Lee

Don't name your daughter after a song

The animation shows how roots grew into holes in her skull,

proving that her remains lay there from the first sighting

until police finally followed the lead. While search and rescue

teams hoped, her mother got a new tattoo, Bella Vita.

The bones were too decomposed to establish if the duct tape

was used to asphyxiate her or to cover her face afterwards.

Someone unrelated put up a wooden cross painted bone-white.


Whoever dumped her in a fly tipping area was related to her.

Not following the lead wasn't the only mistake police made.

Her mother's silence drew attention, risked the dead daughter

becoming a footnote. Flowers were left to fade amongst the roots

and storm waters in the swampy woods. A two-year-old silenced

and claimed by nature  without knowing who she was or who

she could have become. Her name was added to the ghostly cross.


(Caylee Anthony's disappearance in June 2008 led to some States adopting Caylee's Law where it is illegal for a parent to not report a missing child where they knew or should have known the child was in danger. Caylee's remains were found in December 2008)

The Bridal Dresses in Beirut

by Emma Lee

The Bridal Dresses in Beirut


Each dress hangs from a noose.

One is plain satin with scalloped lace,

another an orgy of tulle,

dreamy organza with applique 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.




[Part of a protest against Article 522 of the Lebanese Penal Code which exonerates rapists if they marry their victim. The Article has now been repealed.]

Emma Lee Word.jpg

Emma Lee

Emma Lee’s recent collection is “Ghosts in the Desert” (IDP, UK 2015). “The Significance of a Dress” is forthcoming from Arachne (UK). She co-edited “Over Land, Over Sea,” (Five Leaves, UK, 2015), reviews for The Blue Nib, High Window Journal, The Journal, London Grip, Sabotage Reviews and blogs at

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