It was just a card. Just a simple, handwritten Father’s Day card. I had given the card to my father just before we walked into Disney World on Father’s Day. He smiled, opened the card, read it, and then, folded it up. He patted me on the head.
“Thanks, son,” he says. “Made my day.”
Then, he tucked the card into his pants pocket. I’m sure he would discard it at the next trash can. I didn’t care. In cards, it’s the thought that counts, right?
Sure, I’ll admit I copied the words straight out of the Hallmark card section at Walmart. Yes, it was a plagiarized poem. But, it was just a Father’s Day card for pityssake.
I turned to go into Space Mountain.
Suddenly, I’m standing in a dark forest. The blazing Orlando sun is suddenly covered with clouds.
And there they are.
The Spirits of Poetry Past were here. They surround me and scream for justice.
Shakespeare, standing closest, screams, “Et tu Johnny?”
I try to reason with them. I tell them, “I don’t know why I did what I did! I’m sorry!”
Edgar Allen Poe screams back, “It is the beating of your hideous heart!”
I plead, I beg, I cry for mercy. All the while, hundreds, if not thousands of dead poets arise from the dead. They wear brown robes of poetry, the justice of rhyme sings the songs from inside their faceless hoods. They sing about the coming impending judgment on a poem thief. The ground continues to yield up the spirits of poetry past.
I cry. I wail. I tremble. I beg for mercy. But, I’m surrounded. I’m outnumbered. The burden of poetry now weighs on me like a million vines choking my life away.
I turn to Longfellow. “Why would you bring a vine to kill me? Why exact justice with a noose made of vines around my neck?
“This song of mine
is the song of the vine….”
“Happy Father’s Day,” I say with my last breath. I wish for my dad. But, he’s somewhere waiting for me, thinking I’m riding Space Mountain. He’s probably eating a Mickey Mouse chocolate ice cream sandwich. The crumpled poem already gathering flies as it sits in a trashcan beneath a spilled soda.