In our village had once been a sandlot where old Mr. Spratley’s firework displays were held on the solstice. Children came in their sandals and shorts with fistfuls of sparklers and bottle rockets. Now obscured by plasterboard walls the height of three floors. No way in or out, the property lease pasted for all to see.
The children said it was the haunt of a single old man who slept under a bivouac, next to a campfire that burned all hours. They told of mounds of disturbed and upended earth. Not one could be taken at their word but the smell of smoke drifted on the evening chill and the only sound to be heard within was a shovel unpacking dirt.
Weeks had passed when something emerged disheveled with a mess of rags held close to its breast. When a boy asked the figure if he found what he was looking for all it could do was nod. The fellow disappeared like he came and we saw for ourselves the orchard inventory of disentombed clothes. When Mr. Spratley’s house caught fire, we all just watched as the flames grew taller. Chatted as debris scattered the ground like an autumn eve.