I don’t spend too much time on the contents. It’s too much like prying. But sometimes you can’t avoid the objects that tumble out; they contain their own force, a fearful potential. A map of Alaska slashed with black biro. Aeronautical charts (which gave me pause) with their dense codes, vectors and warnings to pilots. CAUTION: Severe turbulence may occur over rugged terrain. CAUTION: Numerous windmills. CAUTION: Intensive aerobatic practice area. A letter so old the page is as fragile as an insect’s wing. A cat’s collar. A photograph of a man in khaki shorts whose ice cream has fallen from its cone. Something grey, excised, rattling in a clear plastic tub. A promise, or a threat, of fidelity.

It takes to the flame every time, first match in. It goes up as if it were created for this moment.


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