The woman at no. 80

won’t be deterred, though her cough

clinks and rattles like a bottle delivery.


The porch covers her; rain and shine she

sits cross-legged on the doorstep, not


watching while the street happens,

coughing to punctuate life’s sentence.


Somebody should tell her the fifties are

over, that no one’s going to photograph her for


Picture Post, that she should quit

smoking. This morning she sits behind a scaffold


as though it wasn’t there.

Two men crab-walk the roof above.