Clearance by Jeff Young

She cleared out dead people’s houses, kept something from every house—a spoon or a postcard maybe, once a Bay City Rollers badge, another time a glass swan—binned the rest of the menagerie. She said it was a jar of uranium – the jampot on the mantel piece. Got it from a dead man’s pocket. It was two weeks before they found his body, no one even knew he lived there. She found a set of tarot cards in the prefab and used them to light bonfires of small aeroplanes and dolls. She prayed beside a winter fire of hairbrushes and dentures. After a while she stopped visiting dead people’s houses. People hurried their animals indoors when she walked by. Instead, she tended a bonfire of her own childhood, burning her own hair, the doll’s house. There is nothing more beautiful than a doll’s house lit by fire.

Jeff Young lives in Liverpool UK and write scripts for theatre and radio, radio essays, and cross-art collaborative art installations. His memoir, Ghost Town, A Liverpool Shadowplay was published in 2020 by Little Toller Books and was shortlisted for Costa Book Ward and long listed for the Portico Prize. He is currently writing the follow up, Wild Twin.

a bonfire in winter

Photo by Mikhail Nilov.

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