Pink Slip at Tool & Dye

By Dave Smith b. 1942 Dave Smith
He can only drink tea now, screwed and filed.
She is dead, in metal flecks.

55 years old and look like a bad nail
by God they yanked me out
I can tell you

soon as the hurt come son shut up
it don’t mean nothing

but listen: you got time for a ride?

Habit’s put the glass in his hands, the brown
tasteless tea, slime, and cigarettes.
Every Sunday the same, old dog
fat at his feet.

Ain’t so much me I’m asking for
dog like to get out and piss
think they remember.

Near the main gate of Gary Steel I stop.
The amber light pours out of stacked horizons,
monstrous cranes hang over suburbs.

She think that piss mean something
it don’t mean nothing.

Turning back in the dark, headlights flash
on our faces, bent, light of a woman’s hair.

Dave Smith, “Pink Slip at Tool & Die” from Cumberland Station (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1976). Copyright © 1976 by Dave Smith. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Cumberland Station (1976)

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Poet Dave Smith b. 1942

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Pets, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics, Relationships

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Dave  Smith


Poet, novelist, critic, and editor Dave Smith was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. The first member of his family to graduate from college, Smith received a BA from the University of Virginia, an MA from Southern Illinois University, and a PhD from Ohio University. Smith has published more than a dozen volumes of poetry, including Little Boats, Unsalvaged: Poems 1992–2004 and The Wick of Memory: New and Selected Poems, 1970–2000, . . .

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SUBJECT Pets, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics, Relationships

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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