Harding Stedler


His is a morning limp,
trying to make the lame leg work.
Dogs are drawn by his uneven gait;
they adopt the asphalt with him
and log miles together in August heat.

Today, his right foot struggles
as he strives to put it before the left.
From across the lake I watch.
I read his mind
as he wonders how he’ll make it back
to the retirement home.

He falls to the ground unattended,
except for dogs.
I watch him writhe in anger.

His eighty years are begging
for new parts.
He asks the cyclist
who rides up unannounced
to remove his legs
and put them in his basket.
He wants to trade them in for new ones
at a yard sale somewhere close.

When the ambulance arrives,
he refuses to ride.
He begs to return home
before the oppressive heat sets in,
preferably by wheelbarrow.

Harding Stedler     
Maumelle, Arkansas

Harding Stedler is the pseudonym of this 71-year old poet from Maumelle, Arkansas. He frequently wins local, regional and national poetry awards. A widower, he spends a lot of time volunteering at Maumelle Arts Council. The author of seven books of poetry is recipient of the Merit Award from Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas. He collects stamps. He has one son and two grandchildren. His sign is Cancer.