Larry Smith

A Work Story

“A good man is hard to find.”

Work shows up one day
red faced with lunch pail
and takes a seat at the bar.
I ask, “What’ll you have?” And he,
“What you need done?”

Four days later the new kitchen is finished
shining chrome and real tile floor.
I tell him he can have free drinks
for as long as he lives, and he laughs,
says, “Hey, the job ain’t done.”

When I get home that night,
Work is sitting on the porch
and says, “I’ve come for that drink
and to sleep with your wife.”
I laugh, but he doesn’t.

He’s fixed the porch now
and put in a new furnace,
while I just drive the kids to school
and sleep on the couch. This weekend
he and Grace are heading to Vegas.


Larry Smith is a native of the industrial Ohio River Valley having grown up in Mingo Junction, Ohio, the second of four children. His father was a brakeman on the railroad of Weirton Steel where the author worked two summers to help pay for college. A graduate of Mingo High School, Musking­um College, and Kent State University, he taught at Bowling Green State University’s Firelands College from 1970 to 2012. He is the author of eight previous books of poet­ry, two books of memoirs, five books of fiction, two liter­ary biographies of authors Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Kenneth Patchen. His photo history of hometown Mingo Junction, Ohio appeared in Arcadia’s Images of America Series. Two of his film scripts on authors James Wright and Kenneth Patchen have been made into films with his co-di­rector Tom Koba. He was the first poet laureate of Huron, Ohio. Larry is the founder and director of The Firelands Writ­ing Center and a co-founder with his wife, Ann, of Converg­ing Paths Meditation Center in Huron, Ohio. He and his wife live along the sandy shores of Lake Erie in Huron, Ohio. His most recent book is The Pears: Poems, from Bottom Dog Press.