Gingerbread House Lit Mag

At the Dead Mothers Motel

Half the time you can’t say
what did us in, besides the obvious: kids
will be kids only as long as we’re around.

Here’s your key. There’s a pool
out back, but really it’s Cecilia’s room—
sure, you can pick your own name too.

Anyway, she’s been here for ages.
Pays in pearls. Won’t see much of Rose, 5A,
so lovely the mirrors crack when she goes by.

If it’s books you’ll be wanting, try
Aletheia’s library, on your right. Morning, Lucy.
(Head of housekeeping—has a way with mice.)

Which reminds me: if you catch a deer
grazing at the window boxes, just let her be.
I’m fairly sure she’s lost her heart, poor thing.

There’s Amina in the garden,
trying her new spray for the melons.
Such a blight we’ve had this year! I haven’t

seen the like since the summer
you turned sixteen, when that dragon
coated the fields in ash, and I was in the way.

Oh, checkout’s quite informal. Stay
as long as you like, my dear. You’ll never
find a safer place to keep your pretty head.

Carolyn Oliver

Carolyn Oliver lives in Massachusetts with her family. Her poetry has appeared in FIELD, Indiana Review, The Greensboro Review, Booth, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the 2018 Writer’s Block Prize and the 2019 Frank O’Hara Prize from the Worcester Review. Find her work online at

Artwork:  Noel Kerns, Free TV

This entry was published on July 31, 2019 at 12:05 am and is filed under 37 (July 2019), Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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