She could tell he loved her. He wanted her there
sitting in the front pew when he preached.
He liked to watch her putting up her hair
and ate whatever she cooked and never broached
the subject of the years before they met.
He was thoughtful always. He let her say
whether or not they did anything in bed
and tried to learn the games she tried to play.
She could tell how deep his feeling ran.
He liked to say her name and bought her stuff
for no good reason. He was a gentle man.
How few there are she knew well enough.
He sometimes reached to flick away a speck
of something on her clothes and didn’t drum
his fingers on the table when she spoke.
What would he do if he knew she had a dream
sometimes, slipping out of her nightgown—
if ever God forbid he really knew her—
to slip once out of the house and across town
and find someone to talk dirty to her.
Miller Williams, “If Ever There Was One” from The Ways We Touch. Copyright © 1997 by Miller Williams. Reprinted with the permission of University of Illinois Press.
Source: The Ways We Touch
(University of Illinois Press, 1997)