The BOOKPRESS November 1998

The Fax

Thom Ward


        is the vagabond in a black coat
        with a secret. Touch a button and wait.
        Try not to confuse it
        for something else, although

        like sex, the body politic, we drop
        a fax on someone as we would
        our tongue or a bomb. Dynamics shift
        and influence expectations. Once

        we’ve faxed another it’s difficult
        to return to phone. India and Pakistan.
        We test who’s beyond our vision
        while the paper negotiates the slot.

        What’s the likelihood of faxus interruptus?
        What words will excite the Palestinians
        and not upset the Jews? All of us
        moving from lover to lover, from fax

        to nuke, determined to get there first.
        Because it’s possible that history
        is only the perpetual relay
        of invention, Eros and power,

        and our task is to wait on the street
        for the vagabond to hand us
        the glossy page, that message we sent
        to warn ourselves of what we might become.

                        —Thom Ward

        Thom Ward is a poet and an editor at BOA Press.

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