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Salt shining behind its glass cylinder.
Milk in a blue bowl. The yellow linoleum.
The cat stretching her black body from the pillow.
The way she makes her curvaceous response to the small, kind gesture.
Then laps the bowl clean.
Then wants to go out into the world
where she leaps lightly and for no apparent reason across the lawn,
then sits, perfectly still, in the grass.
I watch her a little while, thinking:
what more could I do with wild words?
I stand in the cold kitchen, bowing down to her.
I stand in the cold kitchen, everything wonderful around me.

—Miller Williams

from Imperfect Love, 1986
Baton Rouge: Louisiana State U. Press

Copyright 1986 by Miller Williams.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Miller Williams from Imperfect Love. Copyright 1986 by Miller Williams. For further permissions information, contact Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Miller Williams (1930-2004) was born in Hoxie, Arkansas in 1930, the son of a Methodist clergyman and civil rights activist. Williams is the author of 14 poetry collections, including Time and the Tilting Earth: Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2008).

Learn more about Miller Williams at The Poetry Foundation.