In Flanders Revealed

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 and provides content marketing services. He lives in Toronto with his wife and three children. More: Twitter: @shaneschick.

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