: Second Marriage :
an excerpt by W. T. Pfefferle
Leah marries Ken on a stormy October afternoon.
We pass gifts then huddle around with strangers near the bar.
Leah is my oldest friend, 20 years running.
Ken is a new thing. A new husband.
Leah has on an avocado dress, short, bare legs.
My wife says she looks great for 40.
I stare up at the front during the ceremony,
wondering where Leah's first husband is now.
That first wedding I watched from a distance,
in a rented car, half mad on some lovely red wine.
Ken shakes my hand, then clutches me close.
"It means the world to Lee that you came."
At the reception I make five trips to the buffet,
for assorted relatives jetlagged for the journey.
During the first dance I nod at Leah as she swirls past. I imagine the nod is full of endearment and grief.
Later, when the band plays something herky jerky,
Ken comes over and dances with my wife.
He claps me on the shoulder, and spins her out of her chair.
Just once around, he says, then they disappear.