This is the title poem of my pamphlet. An earlier draft appears in A Complicated Way of Being Ignored (ed. Michael Stewart, Grist Books, 2012). The poem was also placed in The Elmet Open Poetry Competition.
Breathing Through Our Bones
Beneath the tangled gardens of West Street,
with stained mattresses slumped against privet,
heaped remains of old bathrooms, carcases
of kitchens, beneath mossed patches that might be lawns,
deep down in the seams of the earth, the wings
of the first dragonflies, the flattened shells of crabs,
lie imprinted in coal, along with the thigh bones
of tyrannosaurus rex, which hold evidence
of air sacs, the pneumatisation that enables
birds to fly. Here in these towns where everyone
is someone’s cousin twice removed,
we are all breathing through our bones.