Without a cheating peek at old photos,
I recall only these from my first wedding:
one tall usher’s socks and my Dad’s arm.

Red-red socks bridging a two-inch gap
between shoelaces and pant cuffs, then
my nearly-mother-in-law’s exasperation

when her son refused to ask him to trade
his trademark red for formal black.
We’d recall those socks many times and laugh.

No bridal jitters. I started down the aisle,
path rehearsed, steady on my father’s arm.
But I couldn’t stop my hand from shaking.

It took all night for me to realize
my hand had trembled because
my rock of a Dad shook with every step

toward letting his youngest go.
I was supposed to be the nervous Nellie!
Dad made me laugh that day.

Decades and a divorce later I understood
he’d knowingly allowed me
to walk to my chosen failure.

I still laugh about those red socks,
but not about Dad’s quaking arm.
I can’t laugh at love that deep.