UPS by Joselyn Miller
Ode to My UPS Guy
by Rick Lupert

He rings the doorbell with purpose.
Not like the food delivery people who
you hardly get a ding out of.

His ding is fast but purposeful—
and the dong . . . well when that thing
comes along, it’s like

the Roman Empire is back.
He won’t take any gifts. I’ve offered
water, soda, candy, fruit even.

But this isn’t Halloween for him.
New iPhone season is coming and
he needs to stay in shape.

We used to talk all the time
for about eight seconds a shot.
He’d say things like

sending packages to yourself again?
and I’ve got your cat litter for you.
He’d respond to the funniest thing

I could think to tell him without missing
a beat. But since the plague descended
by the time I open the door

his knees, bursting out of
the brown shorts of his people
are already back in the van.

This is how it will be until
they find something to inject into us
that will make it all go away.

Until then he brings us
everything we can imagine
like a masked savior.

A package of coffee came today
which will, literally, keep me alive.
And yesterday he brought me

a book of poetry from Japan.
Not the one I wrote, but one
packaged by the hands of

a woman in a kimono
flown across the Pacific and
entrusted to my guy.

He laid it on the porch and rang the bell.
I set it aside for three days to avoid
any unwelcome visitors.

What more could I need?
Whatever it may be, I know
he’ll risk his life to bring it to me.

United in his service—
This is but a parcel
of my gratitude.

PAINTING: Essential Worker — Parcel Delivery Driver by Joselyn Miller, available for sale at Artist’s statement:  “I felt drawn to paint a series of portraits to honor those out there doing what needs to be done during quarantine. One hundred percent of my proceeds will be donated to aid those most adversely impacted by the COVID pandemic. I used a variety of bright colors to render the portrait, bringing an uplifting vibe to the serious nature of the subject matter.”

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love my UPS guy. (Platonically.) He’s doing work which I’ve always appreciated, but now regard as essential. He and all of our prime movers are doing work which is literally keeping as safe behind our masks and closed doors.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rick Lupert has been involved with L.A. poetry since 1990. He is the recipient of the 2014 Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center Distinguished Service Award and was a co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets for two years. He created the Poetry Super Highway  and hosted the weekly Cobalt Cafe reading for almost 21 years. His first spoken word album Rick Lupert Live and Dead, featuring 25 studio and live tracks, was released in March 2016. He’s authored 25 collections of poetry, including The Toyko-Van Nuys Express (Ain’t Got No Press, August 2020), Hunka Hunka Howdy, Beautiful Mistakes, and God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion, and edited the anthologies Ekphrastia Gone Wild,  A Poet’s Siddur, A Poet’s Haggadah, and the noir anthology The Night Goes on All Night. He also writes and draws (with Brendan Constantine) the daily web comic Cat and Banana and writes the Jewish Poetry column “From the Lupertverse” for Jewish Journal. He is regularly featured at venues all over the world. Follow him on Facebook.  

Author photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher