Yes, write your own vows

It’s easier
this way, with no one
to have to give her daughter

away— No walk down an aisle
with a parent on each side,
as her parents flanked her

thirty-six years ago,
the priest meeting them
at the foot of the altar

to ask Who gives this woman
As if in that moment,
every misgiving could resolve

with a simple phrase. What was
released? resigned? She doesn’t
have the album anymore

which was made of that entire
evening— a handspan thick,
each page crowded with faces

which she now barely recalls.
When two of her daughters tell her
their father has said he can’t be

a father to them, she feels again
the papery edges of that wound
but closes the book more

firmly now each time.

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