Harding Stedler

That Will Teach Him

Tuesday was not a day
without remorse
or a day without emotion.
It was a day without vowels,
a day when all letters
became consonants
and I became constipated.
On Wednesday, I spent the day
with ulcers and stomach cramps,
a day when my world
was reduced to bowels.
As Poe would say,
a day I "perched and sat
and nothing more."
On Thursday, moderately recovered,
and a few pounds thinner,
I took to the sidewalk,
clad only in burgundy towel
and sauntered
into the corner carry-out
where I bought a gallon jug of wine
to reactivate my vowels.
Instead, it was the bowels.
The arresting officer told me later
that indeed I left my mark...
on the back seat of his cruiser.


My Poem for Today

My first time through
your check-out lane
was like I'd known you
for a thousand years.
And, because of you,
I kept coming back.
I felt a magnetic attraction
that day,
as though I belonged there,
one of those rare moments
where I got more
than the merchandise I paid for.
Our kinship goes back
to a time before I met you
in the check-out lane,
a time that denies
identification,
to a previous life perhaps.
You are my brother,
and I love you.
You are my poem for today.

A third-generation teacher, Harding Stedler retired from teaching at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1995 and moved to Cabot, Arkansas. He serves on the Executive Board of the Poets' Roundtable of Arkansas and is secretary of the River Market Poets in Little Rock. He has recently conducted writers' workshops for poets at the Murphin Ridge Inn in Ohio and for the Faulkner County Poets and the Poets of the Lake in Arkansas. His most recent collection is titled When August Spoke of Buggy Wheels and is available from the author.

 

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