Emma, it is 8am and the light in the front porch
is the colour of your hair. School is waiting.
The barometer is hanging the top side of fair,
its coils and springs pulling both ways,
teasing the atmosphere like a fine wool.
The tension holds the needle static, so the whole
appears to be broken, as barometers sometimes do.
I touch my nose to it and breathe; imagine it is a silent clock
which does time backwards as well as forwards.
Of course there is hoovering
and conversations high over the hoovering
and the claim of being “almost ready”.
I am sometimes late to call for you,
you are never ready and there is always hoovering.
I count passing cars, bright paint samplers,
as they bobble the patterned glass of the front door.
Your Granddad's shoes are gone from the coat stand,
there is at least one jacket less and the smell,
well it is the same, but a note has ceased to sound,
like a vital spice missing from a dish.
I think of each of the objects that hangs orphaned in his shed.
I am always waiting in the hallway;
there is no going in with shoes on.
I look behind the upright of the coat stand
for that single foam bead
on the foam bead wallpaper
where I press my thumbnail every morning.
Listen to Emma's Porch'
From Room of Thieves, Salt Publishing, 2013
First published in the Bridport Prize 2010 anthology