Suspending Disbelief

For my daughter's wedding tomorrow
I seek suspenders with loops. All that the store stocks
are clips. Will the grip last? Or will my pants drop?
If the hold is firm, the waistband will stay
a perfect inch above my hips. With my fly the right height,
sleek pleats will sculpt clean lines. I'll look taller than I am,
and my silk shirt won't balloon (the problem with belts).

The groom is quicksilver on the trading floor,
glib at a dinner party. Wine is his passion, "the fine life"
his motto. "He excites me," says my daughter,
and I can see why. He's elastic, dynamic.
What's his next move? A question
that never surfaced about her previous guy, a slow-talking
veterinarian. The scarred beige belt he wore
made his chinos billow. When the occasional worsted
fell to the top of his pelvis, at least it stopped there.
He treated his animal patients with care. Never caused a scandal,
unlike my daughter's intended, whose hedge fund
suddenly plummeted. The vet's heavy buckle hooked for good;
buttons anchor loop suspenders. But clips? Suppose I'm walking
my daughter down the aisle. One moment, I'm a model father;
then, from my briefs to my socks, I'm a slapstick comic.

Belts and buttons sell well. Most men avoid clasp suspenders.
Why tremble, like a playwright on an opening night
that could end in a stomping ovation or a race for the exits?
Once I asked an historian
whether she thought it better to advance one big but risky
theory, or to dig up fact after fact after fact.
I forget her answer; anyhow, the salesman waits.

—Richard Merelman, Madison, WI