Degrees of Formality

by Susan E. Holland

The aching brown backbone in their porch:
a limp prognostical belt of kelp.

Further inside, the frozen rage of Grandad’s
barometer. Dad would still tap the place
its crafty bland face showed a frank
dark cone of internal works. He swore
its needle swung a querulous millimetre
                                              at the back of Rain.

I’d pipe up: Why don’t you just look outside?

The sea itself would be stiff with copperplate
intimations of Storm, or other days it wore
a crisp tight silver perm like the Queen’s.