It’s been decades since the House of Flanders fell,
but the memory of the wreckage remains,
of the aftermath of a hurricane that threatened
all of Springfield, but which spared the Simpsons
and everyone else but that neighbourliest
of neighbours, the man who up until that point
was known only for ding-dong-diddily
doing unto others as was done unto him.
He wasn’t broken by the act of God,
nor by a community-wide attempt at rebuilding
that ended with a residence only two out of
the Three Little Pigs would’ve dared inhabit,
but the moment he tried to clean his own glasses,
blowing dust off a lens that fell from its frame,
giving up and shattering just seconds before
he would, the boiling water finally bursting
through what (as we later learned) a childhood
filled with psychiatric spanking had dammed.
The story suggested Ned had finally lost it,
lost it all, but think about what he gained:
the trappings of faith exchanged for freedom
to mouth back at Marge, to lambaste Lisa,
to transpose the “r” and the “a” in Bart
with the righteousness of the wronged?
To clap back at Krusty, to call out Quimby,
to let loose on Lenny and Mel; by the time
we get to Homer this hurricane has all
but stopped spinning, but any of us who
watched were breathing heavier,
harder with the exhilaration of having
seen the bear poked, of having
stood in the midst of the storm.
Ned was supposed to have turned ugly,
but he had never looked more like us.
It felt like a miracle. Yes, it was an episode
that questioned the existence of God,
but might this not have been proof that
He lives, even in a place like Springfield,
and that this was just His Simpsons
cameo, His little “Hi-diddily-ho?”
Shane Schick has had poetry published in Shrapnel Magazine, Neologism Poetry Journal, Grand Little Things and Fully Lit, among others. He is the founder of 360Magazine.com and provides content marketing services. He lives in Toronto with his wife and three children. More: ShaneSchick.com/poetry. Twitter: @shaneschick.