This poem is taken from PN Review 34, Volume 10 Number 2, November – December 1983.
It was nothing like a legacy.
We didn’t know the word.
We dug a hole and buried things in bottles,
a home-made picture dictionary
and seven orange stamps,
an outline map of land and water,
descriptions of our house and school
and things we did there,
news of those days in which we lived.
We laid them deep because they had to last.
Beings with wings would come
in time to come and dig; curious to learn
how people were in that century before
the terrible years of intergalactic war.
Those bottles won’t have floated far
but whatever’s there by then
will hardly matter. Something
will have made its way through cork
and hatched, and hatched again.
Grubs which grow wings
or eat dark leaf and wood,
stuff rising to the surface leaving
other stuff behind. Things
that eat things! the sizzling colonies,
the meals of afterbirth and rot.
They’ve got my drawing of a bicycle,
three syllables above two wheels.