You wake me in the night,

not realising you are dead.

Your funeral was just yesterday,

few people turned out,

your tongue's life

spent cutting friends

and foes alike.


"I feel ill,"

you say, sitting

on the edge of the bed,

then call me

by a different name.

I open my mouth

to answer,

then realise I shouldn't,

there is nothing I can say

that won't tell you the truth

you deny yourself.

Who am I to ruin

this stubborn avoidance

of your death?


"I feel ill," you say again,

this time, remembering my name,

though you shorten it

to a nickname I do not like

and haven't answered to

since I was fifteen.


I don't answer this time either.

Instead I lie back down,

my head turned from you,

but guilt, or some emotion

disguised as such,

makes me say,

"I buried you yesterday,

tomorrow I shall bury

your shadow. Please

respect that. Please".


Silence, then I hear you sigh,

feel your weight

leave the bed.

I would turn and look

but I know you are gone,

just as I know you will return,

you or your shadow

unable to stay buried

for long.



Edward Lee's poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen and Smiths Knoll.  He is currently working on a novel.

Edward Lee