"Goose Flesh"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Oct. 13 2009 5:55 PM

"Goose Flesh"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Tim Liardet read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes..

She climbed with the weeping boy
into the sleeves and legs of his clothes. He crouched

and acquiesced, and what he thought was his hand
reaching to pat the soft part of his abdomen

was in fact hers—her foot was in his shoe—so it was hard
to fathom if those scarlet toenails belonged to him

or her, and which body musk seeped out
from which armpit, which thought originated first

in his head or her encompassing head behind,
so little the lapse, the spaces, between them.

When he dressed himself, it was her hands that reached
around to each bone button, her fingers which clipped

the absurd butterfly to his collar. When she climbed out
and left a chilly shape where she had been

he felt his spine was corrugated and exposed,
every follicle of him, every single blond hair

always listening for her approach,
listening in all directions, from every hair.

When she climbed back, he could no longer feel
the coarse stitching in the seams of his shirt

nor any sensation in his feet at all
and no sensation in his hands or in his lips.

Where her warm belly brushed against his sacrum
he smelt of her cologne, and it was only

when he tried to shift his shoulders sideways
and fidget his body into a space

that her long arms folded across him from behind
and drew him back toward her, at which stage

they seemed to wrestle together in a canal sack,
one trying to keep the other where he was

by pulling the collar tighter against his neck,
one trying to escape from his shirt.

.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
The Good Word
Sept. 21 2014 11:44 PM Does This Name Make Me Sound High-Fat? Why it just seems so right to call a cracker “Cheez-It.”
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.