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Breathing Through Our Bones

Breathing Through Our Bones

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Winner of the Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition.
Runner up in the Yorkshire Open Poetry Competition.

"Poems with a real ability to own their subject- whether spontaneous combustion or the collective thought of geese – and which remain to intrigue long after reading." Carol Ann Duffy

'What I Know'

That the roots of lycopsid trees have the span
of a giant squid, that their bark is patterned
like the skin of a pineapple or a globe artichoke,
that ex-mining towns rest on their fossilized remains,

that 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 sacks, the pneumatisation that enables
birds to fly, and here in these towns where everyone
is someone’s cousin twice removed,
we are all breathing through our bones.

Julie Mellor lives in Penistone and teaches English at a local secondary school. After doing various jobs, including working in a shoe shop in London, and as an au pair in Sicily, she gained a degree in English at the University of Huddersfield. She went on to do an MA in Writing at Sheffield Hallam, followed by a PhD, which she completed in 2003. Her poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies, including Brittle Star, Mslexia, The Rialto and Smiths Knoll.