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‘the immigrant drafts a cover letter’ by Bernard Ferguson

— Joyce Chong

you said i could call you kin. i am merely here to collect. everything i own is waiting in the car. its engine still warm.

I am always hungry for new ways of interpreting and understanding the diasporic experience, in all its infinite variations. There’s something in this poem by Bernard Ferguson, published in The Adroit Journal, that takes on a tonal inspiration I’ve never seen before. Poem as application, as formal cover letter submitting the self for consideration, for acceptance. For entry into this conceptual American dream.

our ravenous hands demand an offering & i want to afford this life as advertised.

‘The Immigrant Drafts a Cover Letter’ is an illustration of the senselessly-contrived expectation of others to justify their existence in spaces defined by already-shaky notions of ownership. This is both poem and earnest letter, evoking a sense of uncertainty and a restless need to do more than simply meet, even more than to surpass expectations. Ferguson has managed to evoke a near-universal immigrant/diasporic sensation through a refreshing and distinctive lens.

i have catalogued each fruit of my labor & placed them here for you. i am most desperate in this way & every way i spend my time. all midnight & after.

The Adroit Journal