Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Some Villanelles Go Nowhere

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I'm tired of that game we always play.
Turn up the volume. Hey! The light's turned green.
The license plates that count are out of state.

Can we get where we're going in just one day?
You said we'd take a break at Dairy Queen.
I'm tired. This game we always liked to play

with dad. I wish he didn't have to stay
behind at home. I wish you weren't so mean.
The license plates that count are out of state.

Without a map, it's hard to know the way
I didn't draw that face on the windscreen.
I'm tired of the games we have to play.

Mom, turn the headlights on; it's getting late.
The moon looks bored and blue. I haven't seen
any license plates that count. We're out of state

by now. Those big roads, shaped like figure eights
go on and on forever, a bad dream
that puts us in a game we hate to play
where all the license plates are out of state.


Carolyn Harris Zukowski is an American poet living in Český Krumlov, Czech Republic. Ten years ago, Literary Mama was one of the first places to accept her poetry. Since then, she’s earned an MA and MFA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK). She owns award-winning Krumlov House & Write Away. When she’s not doing laundry, walking the dog, or welcoming guests to her hostel, she’s editing her manuscript and redecorating her now empty nest.


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