Smethers the postman, that greasy fuck with his brown letters. Here he comes in his proud-blue uniform. It’s another day, another dense bright space to blacken in. He strides up the street to our porch, slicks his hair back underneath his cap and talks in through the letter-box: “Morning girls!” The voice is treacle sweet, reaching down the hall as if to grope us. He lives next to a distant cousin of ours who owns a fresh-fish caravan up past the Mormon Road, brings us herrings or lemon sole or whiting wrapped in newspaper.

“Yoo-hoo, ladies! Oh, girl!”

The stink of him. The come-and-get-me voice on him. Something’s not right. We had fish three times last week, fresh salmon once and this cousin’s someone we hardly know, a woman with a van Mam mentioned.

“Yoo-hoo! Oh ladies!”

My sister Cora doesn’t budge. She leans her elbow on the corner of the gas cooker and pulls on her morning cigarette, exhaling thick little beams of smoke. She never talks until that fag’s stubbed out. Behind ou…