Robert Donohue


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.