And suddenly, all that's left are dried-up paints and filled-in coloring books
And dalmatian emblazoned money boxes
Filled with coins that no one uses anymore
And scrapbooks with peeling newspaper
Cuttings of beauty pageant winners
And stacks of free gifts collected
By opening packets of chips.
For when you're grown-uppish, you look down upon
Pageant queens for playing into an ideology
And become a coin collector because
They don't hold a candle to a cheque
And you don't paint anymore.
And all this lies half-forgotten, buried
In a shelf in your cupboard and
A corner in your mind that you hardly visit
Gathering dust and fading color
But when you excavate, the associations remain
And the people and places play out like
On a TV screen.
A reminder of things gone by but also of things to come
Of why you became who you've become
All Dominique Bretodeau had of his childhood was a metal box
Stowed away behind a forgotten loose tile
A box that reminded him of the boy he used to be
And the boy who needed him
All he had was a metal box
I, at least, have a shelf.