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Keep your face to the sunshine
and shadows will fall behind you. -- Walt Whitman

LIFE AND LADDERS by Catherine Power Evans

I watched a strong woman today; 

she carried long ladders on her leg.

She was no window cleaner:

there were no cloths, no bucket,

just a pair of scuffed patent heels and a

handbag of fake crocodile—or alligator,

I forget if they have either

in Taiwan. 

Or China...

She must have been an OAP

though she tried to look young.

And rich. 

On both counts she almost succeeded

but it was the ladders, you see. 

She hadn’t checked her behind 

in that cheval mirror at the 

Department of Work and Pensions 

paid-for B&B.




I admired how deftly she wove through 

the onslaught in the street.

Not too shabby in her moves, I’ll give her that.

Balletic even.

All the while carrying those ladders,

unaware of her great strength

yet in dogged denial of her

destitution.




Maybe it’s just as well;

knowing things isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

A person needs to dream that 

they can amount to more than the 

missed reflection 

in the absent mirror in the 

room devoid of humanity 

at the DWP B&B.




Milady there, she 

carries her burdens like her ladders,

behind her and out of sight.



The Linnets Wings