If Ever There Was One

By Miller Williams b. 1930 Miller Williams
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)

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Poet Miller Williams b. 1930

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Marriage & Companionship, Relationships, Living, Love, Men & Women, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Miller  Williams

Biography

Poet, editor, critic, and translator Miller Williams was born in Hoxie, Arkansas in 1930, the son of a Methodist clergyman and civil rights activist. Though he entered college as double major in English and foreign languages, an aptitude test revealed “absolutely no aptitude in the handling of words,” Miller has said in interviews. He changed his major to hard sciences to avoid “embarrassing my parents.” Williams received a BS . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Marriage & Companionship, Relationships, Living, Love, Men & Women, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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