Catlike Whiskers


In the bottom of the lake,
your whiskers rub gently
against the turtle’s crusty shell
with an amorous touch.
The turtle knows not
what to make of the affection
and squirms its way
among the waves,
paddling its way
toward shore.

I sense its bewilderment
in its attempt to escape
the passionate pursuit
of the catlike barbels.
It is unquestionably shell-shocked.

By Harding Stedler


After graduating valedictorian of his high school graduating class, Harding Stedler went on to earn his B.S. in Ed., M.S in English Education, and his Ph.D. in English Education as well. He taught writing courses under the umbrella of the English Department in universities where he taught. In 1995, he retired from Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, with 34 years of service. He now makes his home in Maumelle, Arkansas, and is an active member of the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas as well as the River Market Poets in Little Rock.

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