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Thom Ward

Thom Ward holds degrees in English from The College of Wooster and the SUNY College at Brockport. Currently, he is Editor/Development Director for BOA Editions, Ltd., an independent publishing house of American poetry and poetry in translation. His poetry collection Small Boat With Oars of Different Size, will be published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in January, 1999. He also teaches writing workshops at Roberts Wesleyan College, in elementary and secondary schools and through The Writers & Books Literary Center in Rochester, NewYork.

Ward is the recipient of three grants from The New York Foundation For The Arts, and his poems have been published widely in journals, anthologies and newspapers. He is also the author of a poetry chapbook manuscript, Tumblekid, and is working on a third poetry collection, Among The Scattered Farms. He lives with his wife, three children, two cottonwood trees, a cat, a mouse and a guinea pig in Palmyra, New York.

"The Lost Remote Support Group"

meets twice a month in the basement
of Nick's Appliance,
coffee and folding chairs snapped
in a circle, our hands restless -
needing more
than Styrofoam cups, hands
that once brandished smooth
black rectangles, simple
declaratives entrusted to small buttons.

So many different versions of the same
episode: a guy
empties the trash, puts the sheets
in the dryer, briefly interrupted
from the new
Chuck Norris show, the rest
of the night an ongoing search
for the zapper
last seen on the table with the chips
and the beer. Take a man like
Monroe Phelps,
counselor-at-law and king of the cross-
examination, convinced that his mutt,
half-setter, half-flake,
buried the remote and so unable
to sleep, slippers and robe, grabs a shovel,
pops the floods,
and digs three dozen holes four feet apart
throughout his entire back yard.
Or, how about
Chet Gilson, clever enough to switch
circuits in his Zenith Super Shooter,
has the gadget
running the PC, the microwave,
comes home from work and on the floor
one piece of plastic,
no batteries or guts, only the cover,
useless itself, all that's left of his adroit
invention. What's worse,
of course, than confessing our inherent sloth
is that none of us can rule out
the possibility
we could have prevented the abduction,
even as we attempt to muffle our guilt,
the urge to scamper
into K Mart for some cheap facsimile.
Hey, we're men without remotes,
meeting twice a month
in a basement, confiding how we've failed,
how much it hurts. And that's not easy.
Believe us.
All we want is to find what's vanished
so we might regain a smattering
of control, do
what we're programmed to do, those
things we've always done and done
so well -

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