The Boiler

Bernard Ferguson

under fireworks, the immigrant remembers his feet

the rocket’s climb into the mouth of summer & its slow bloom in the sky
i name it honestly: violence as spectacle

my apologies, i grew up in a wide belly
a harsh tear of sound & a culling of men

along my street & now i run my hands
down the blinds when a storm rolls in

no beauty to be found in a thunder’s rattle that ravishes
what has not welcomed a ravishing

once, a body was drained of what sweat it had to offer
& then pressed into the earth, an eternal kiss with the dirt

& this is where i appeared
a fresh pair of kicks & no instructions

there is a new country birthed at dawn
& in it running remains the same

a gambit against what swallowed
those who came before us

kudos to you, oh reaper
your ensemble has lined 26th ave with such gorgeous tones

i have checked the locks twice
& touch nothing even with so much to touch

i am sure there is comfort in these things that shed
& blossom until they are unrecognizable

but it was under a rainless night like this one
that i wished for a street without wounds

forgive me, i cannot be blamed for my feet
& what they might do under this recklessness

this sky slowly becoming itself
forgive me for what begins in the chest

this thump & fervor that bathes each rib
forgive me the small moments of reprieve

the wind’s rattle a softened whisper around
each one of my necks

even in stillness, the marrow of me
churns for what i know to exist

these fingers bend & flinch
beneath your dusk spilling with sound

& pull me toward a place
without teeth


Bernard Ferguson is a Bahamian immigrant living in Minnesota. He’s excited to convince you that Fall is not that great of a season. He has work featured/upcoming in Best New Poets 2017, Nashville Review, Winter Tangerine, Raleigh Review and Santa Ana River Review, among others. Please tell him about your favorite reggae songs.