is the twentieth element in the periodic table,
sits at the top of the reactivity series,
is what your bones are made of.
Calcium is the reason for the gleaming white quick of your teeth,
the skeleton paleness of coral reefs.
When the Fibonacci coils of shells
shelve off the coast, it is in a slow love
of minerals that Calcium is crystallised and compressed
to make gaping strata of limestone
that will rear up later as chalk land,
valley-mouths, hills that show through their finger bones.
In the south, men have carved great horses
into the sides of these hills,
that flail their hooves
and shriek their whiteness to nobody.
Look, they are flexing and arched
like truths that time casts uncomfortably.
Look, look, they are older than what makes them,
like poems, like gospel,
like your bones outlasting you.
Graffiti in the NCP car park
A boy has writ his missive here
in the half-built shadow of a Holiday Inn Express
and the white lights of a bridal shop.
Standing in the right stairwell
you can track his path across the roof,
from the golden wedding band of the lift machine service box
to the primary display of a telecoms tower
squatting on the corner of John Street.
He would have had to balance on the wall like this,
must have seen how the roofs on the south side are slapped on like thatch,
how in rain the green paint makes the top storey an inland sea,
that he’s flagging the deep end with his yellow tag.
When someone comes to white it over next month
they will cite it as anonymous graffiti
and will note, but won’t write,
that he’s stacked his letters like loaded guns,
that he’s written them again and again
and again like a prayer.
Lizzi Hawkins is a poet and student. She shares her time between her home, in West Yorkshire, and the University of Cambridge, where she is reading for a degree in Engineering. Her work has been published in The Rialto and The Cadaverine, and she recently received the Ted Hughes Young Poets Award.