I grew up with a fondness

                    for the tooth fairy

                    who stole the teeth

                    beneath my pillow

                    and left me coins in exchange.

                    That was years ago.


                    Recently, I thought it time

                    to see if the tooth fairy

                    was yet alive and well.

                    So, I put my upper dentures

                    beneath my pillow

                    and slept with one eye open.

                    In the morning,

                    when I got up to check,

                    there were no teeth.

                    Nor were there coins in exchange.


                    I wanted to give the tooth fairy

                    an enema to say,

                    “Thanks for nothing.”


I remember well

the clouds of dust

from the narrow dirt road

when Mrs. Pratt delivered eggs

in her rusty Model T,

sputtering from farm house

to farm house through the country.


Once a week she came,

attired in her feedsack dress,

hair piled atop her head

(no make-up on)

just a plain old farmer’s wife.


Young children on her route

envied her

and aspired to be chicken farmers

one day

with the friendly demeanor

of a Mrs. Pratt.


On Fridays,

Bio: After 34 years of teaching, Harding Stedler retired

from Shawnee State University in Portsmouth,

Ohio, in 1995.  He now makes his home in

retirement in Maumelle, Arkansas, where he

is the Poetry Editor of a bi-monthly slick-

covered magazine published in Central


they listened religiously

in the distance

for the sputtering of her truck,

delivering brown eggs

to the faithful.