'Trucker and rig, sunrise delivery,' a poem by S.H. Stein

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For this fine Friday, ladies and gentlemen, we bring to you a kind of poetic tribute that is described by the poet in positively mythic dimensions. That poet would be one S.H. Stein, headquartered in Florida today after years in New York. The poem describes a residential-area unload of shingles, at its most basic.

Yet Stein detailed inspiration for the poem this way: 

I live in an older neighborhood in Florida, the kind that is disappearing. My building used to be a motel where baseball players stayed for spring training. My neighbors are blue-collar, sturdy, as were their parents. The trucker of the poem, who was an independent operator, reminded me of them.


One morning I watched as he drove up to my neighbor Maria’s modest, immaculate house across the street to deliver shingles for her roof repair. His truck was as spruce as he was. Then came his deft expertise and calm with the intricate machinery he commanded. It was a joy to behold.


Something about him and his rig reminded me of the Odyssey, with its huge, complicated, often monstrous creatures of the deep.


It comes to me now that white-haired Maria and her husband were Greek, and may as children have read about Odysseus in ancient Greek. So, perhaps, did Christopher Columbus.

It's a simple set of lines and words, but lurking under the description there's majesty, of a fashion. Hope it takes you off to a fine weekend where're you may be, over-the-road or home sweet home. Big thanks to Stein for the portrait.   

Trucker and rig, sunrise delivery 

Columbus, winged red C emblazoning
cab and shirt sleeve, glances out.

Descending, pinch buffing off a fender
        speck, strolling rearward past his
        flatbed
to its white caboose, sliding up, settling
        in there,

ruffling gears, dials, knobs, pedals, levers,
he unhitches, crisp as NASA, checks,
        and pulls clear.

Then, dropped from both haunches of
        frisking caboose,
prehistoric claws loll in plucky tandem,
        fingering; eyeing.                                      

They rise, nodding over flatbed’s freight,
        mince, pivot, yaw, squeeze, snatch.
        Hoisted, bobbing,
blond, a stack of shingles weighs mid-sky
        until, positioned,

breezing down onto Maria’s yard
it plumps: 

hotcakes.
Pushed back Yankees cap -- glory. --S.H. Stein

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