Vanity I had a job, with little to suggest My doing it would lead me to The Lord. The DMV was where I was employed, Not as a minor clerk, they gave me real Responsibilities; I was the one That censored all the custom license plates, Sometimes they’re also called the vanity. The work was hard; each year I would reject Six thousand plates because they were obscene And through my tenure there I stayed informed About the innovations in swear words. I knew the classics, too, like every way To get one over by misspelling fuck And every permutation that spells ass. But what would truly change my path in life Was when I saw a common license plate Out on the street, and out of my control, Which stood for something I would not permit: DTF 6669 The numbers six and nine were obvious But DTF was all together new. I’ve seen enough on social media To know the acronym as Down To Fuck, So Down To Fuck 6669 it read. I honestly believed in randomness And other than the vanity, our plates Possessed no meaning. This could not explain A plate beyond my grasp defying me, Confronting me as if it were a sign There was a higher power. Here I thought I was the one who had the final word On such vulgarity, and for a living; Coincidence, you say, maybe it was, But maybe there was more to it than chance. I got depressed. I felt under attack, By what, I couldn’t say. It might have been This higher power trying to prevent My sanctioned labor at the DMV, Yet when a door is shut, a window opens And on my way to work I saw a plate: GLY 1152 God Loves You was the answer to my doubts. I don’t know what the numbers signify Although there is a way to look them up If there’s a Bible handy (note to self: I really need a find a Bible soon). I’ve given up on thwarting venery, I plan to hit the road; go town to town And follow where the Gs and Ls will lead.
Robert Donohue’s poetry has appeared in Amethyst Review, Better Than Starbucks, Freeze Ray Poetry, Grand Little Things, and elsewhere. He lives in Long Island, NY.