Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Poetry & Stories
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.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

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