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Whispering to captains

In line for Peter Pan’s Flight at Disney World

a bunch of dudes in Deadpool t-shirts sweat

with their kids and their backpacks while tinkering

with smartphones and tablets and ignoring

the painted shields and decorative frames.

We visited Universal Studios yesterday

which had the great advantage of building

its park years after studying the flaws

in Disney’s properties so we left our minivan

in the King Kong lot of a multilevel garage,

were cooled by fans

installed along the sidewalks,

didn’t wait in line to get photographed

with Bullwinkle or Woody Woodpecker

and now it's strange consuming Disney World

with Jewish children considering Walt’s Nazi sympathies

but perhaps the lesson is it's okay to separate art

from the artist and appreciate them as different things

but Danny won’t watch

Game of Thrones

because he thinks the show betrays the books

and my brother says you can't separate

the statue from the stone from which it’s carved.

The couple in line ahead of us agrees

Phish was better when Trey was shooting heroin

as Danny asks my sister if the face he sees

in an orange rind resembles Jesus or Pablo Escobar,

my son picks up a yellow Crayon wrapper he mistook

for a rolled and flattened twenty dollar bill

and my daughter whines about how unfair

my wife and I are for refusing to allow her

to have her own YouTube channel.

If all your friends are busy making


we ask her,

who’s left to watch them?

Back at the hotel my son bathes

in a tub of soapy water playing

with the plastic soap wrappers, whispering

to the captains of these imaginary ships

that float in his wake before sinking

Brad Johnson’s full-length poetry collection The Happiness Theory (Main Street, 2013) is available at Work of his has also been accepted by Hayden’s Ferry Review, J Journal, New Madrid, Meridian, Poet Lore, Salamander, Southern Indiana Review, Tampa Review, Tar River Poetry  and others.

Brad Johnson
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