It is our son’s first trip down the chapel aisle
steering a silver tray of broken bread.
Repentant faces lift his way and smile:
our flock, dear villagers who raised this child
to bear their burdens, keep their spirits fed
beginning with this trip down the chapel aisle.
He follows solemnly the loping file
of taller boys, and his too-inclined head
makes us turn to each other, shrug, and smile.
This earnestness, and shoes that for a while
will still be much too big, seem to have led
to his hopefully only trip down the chapel aisle:
with scuff, then cry and clatter, clang and sprawl,
the ordinance’s dignity has fled.
Startled faces crane his way, then smile
at us. We nod. What better place to fall
than here, where all things rise? Hands rugburn-red,
he picks tray, bread, and self up from the aisle,
too sheepish and too shepherded not to smile.