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Wednesday, June 21, 2017


by T R Poulson

UPS workers react at the scene where a gunman shot and killed multiple people including himself at a UPS facility in San Francisco, California on June 14, 2017. Several people were shot on Wednesday at a San Francisco warehouse and customer service facility operated by global parcel delivery service UPS, authorities and the company said. UPS spokeswoman Natalie Godwin told AFP the incident involved four workers at the sprawling facility, which employs 850 people. Photo credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

The Warriors were on fire
we said: those crisp plays and passes
around the curved black line, the ball and net’s
dance, again and again, those hands
lifted like a lover’s wave. The players
taunted and shoved and said they were joking.

Game four was a joke.
Overseas, nobody laughed as the fire
climbed higher, higher, disrupting play
in bedrooms and out. Things curved and passed
and fell through smoke and flames. Hands
dropped a blanket-wrapped baby through the net

of smoke, as below there were no nets
to catch him (this was not a joke).
The baby fell, and different hands,
sure as Steph Curry’s, took him from fire
to something unknown, a no-look pass,
from love to a chance to make plays

on dark courts like the one where we played
off Arlington Street, Friday nights, the net
of work behind us as the moon made its pass
above us, until dawn loomed, and our jokes
grew strange.  Here, my memory’s fire
smolders.  Years pass, and still underhanded

bosses rule us, who judge and hand
out warning letters, or play
with our numbers, even try to fire
us, though our union’s safety net
saves us.  It was only a joke,
the bantering words that slanted and passed

among us, about a coworker who could pass
for a molester in a movie.  We pictured his hands
with a gun.  It was only a joke.
My buddy used to pretend, to play
the creepy coworker, his friendship a net:
“When he brings in a Glock, he won’t open fire

on me, and I’ll hand him a list.”  Names passed
between us:  the spitfire loader, the sorter with the net
stockings at home, the player of wives.  A joke.  A joke!

T R Poulson is a UPS driver out of the Menlo Park, California, center.  She attends community classes at Stanford, and her work has appeared previously in TheNewVerse.News, as well as in Verdad, Main Channel Voices, Alehouse, Trajectory, Wildcat Review, The Meadow, The Raintown Review, J Journal, and Verdad.