We had a bonfire whenever there was evidence. Our high brick walls meant the neighbours never find out what we put at the bottom. The first time it was for a car seat stolen from work. We had since lost count.
Floor cushions and borrowed patchwork quilts. Newspaper clippings of famous boxers and soldiers on patrol. A chest of drawers whose origin no-one could explain and a carpet darkly stained. It all had to go. We took turns minding the blaze and watching the street for coming cars.
We stared at it all catch and curl and melt over the hours. The objects’ owner had lived with us neither for his wealth nor the strength of his companionship. He had been a filter between us and the world we refused. He traded something to make us forget for the means to exist.
Yet the world we paid him to shield us from. It followed him like a ghost.