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19 February 2020

Perfectly Good Legs

A new poem by Will Eaves. 

God didn’t like his skinny legs
and made better ones for mankind from 
red meat, collagen and calcium. 
Just like that. Shorts followed.

Later, noticing 
the way his creatures idolised 
a certain thickness of thigh, 
he tried to say – no,

no: that wasn’t what I meant.
Love the sturdy. Do, please. Be
my guest: all I wanted was a chance 
to stand on feet at a normal distance

from my hips, and walk 
towards the unexplained cow
on a beach looking at her shadow.
Sometimes I think these things

up and then I’m stuck with them.
But he couldn’t speak. It felt wrong.
He withdrew into the singing cloud
and measured his desolations.

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Will Eaves is a novelist, poet and associate professor at the University of Warwick. His latest novel, Murmur (Canongate), won the Wellcome Book Prize.

This article appears in the 19 Feb 2020 issue of the New Statesman, The age of pandemics