They buried both tins together
somewhere under the apple trees,
to be re-discovered in one thousand years
but they weren’t sure, since he could not
converse with them, that he would understand.
His little sister, bright and brilliant, sucked on a pencil
and decided upon: her last Barbie’s best dress;
her own second favourite hair slide; a photograph
of her and Father Christmas at Selfridges;
and three old unwanted Girl Talk magazines.
His own tin looked empty in comparison.
They smiled at him indulgently:
for his twigs; his grass cuttings; his fallen leaf;
and those two red and yellow sweet wrappers
he had kept under his pillow for months.
They did not see that in the space around these things
lay all the fragrances of spring and summer,
the rich descents of autumn, and the sharp scented crackle
of winter fires. Don’t you want
to put anything else in here? they asked him.
He looked at them, uncomprehending –
because there was nothing else or better to be saved
but he wasn’t sure, since they could not
converse with him, that they would understand.