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He’d only stopped in for a capsicum, yoghurt, some duck liver pate
when he saw it: Protect yourself from identity theft!

Keep sensitive personal info out of the wrong hands!
Somehow it ended up in his shopping basket.

That Thursday bills ribboned into the green bin.
Job done, he thought. Better safe than sorry, he thought.

Next week the device was next to the letterbox.
No sooner was the mail absorbed than he shredded it.

His wife chuckled. While she was out at the gym
he shredded her passport. An item a day, then two:

P45’s and birth certificates, their daughter’s dinosaur
pictures from the fridge. (This last led to some questions.)

Alone one Saturday, while the wife took little Caoimhe
to hockey practice, he fed the shredder their title deeds,

sundry photographs, her birthday card archive and their U2 ticket stubs,
twenty-five designer ties and a dozen from Dunnes that choked it.

He walked out in his shirt sleeves through the housing-estate, past the
half-built semi-d’s, over the waste ground and into the woods, pushing

for days uphill toward its tangled centre, even after the path was swallowed
by brambles, nettle-nests and dried-out twisted sycamores,

trying to ignore the thorns that rent and reddened his trousers,
his foot-blisters, his stomach's whines, the topless and bony children

flickering among the undergrowth, the grey skin stretched over
their sloped, long foreheads, the way they moved, their giggling.