Conjugations of the Earth

Erasure poem for Dirt by William Bryant Logan


On the day Christ was born, the seed falls in sand deposited

at the bend of a river.

The Romans like to speak of the best soils as fat, sweet, and open.

The ratio for calcium is 1:8:40.

For phosphorus, 1:140:200.

I mean, the stuff my father used to crumble in his hands and say,

“That’s good black dirt, that is.”



Moses does not see a technicolor fantasy.

Yet, he concluded in awe at the Earth: “It distills such exquisite

winds out of such infused fetor.

Nobody knows when he lived, but many know how he died.

We ignore him.



An open grave is an open mouth.

While we live, we ourselves are inhabited.

It is natural magic.

There are people who like to sense the center of the Earth.

The hand is the symbol of the whole body.

The truth, when really perceived and not simply described, is always a wonder.

How were any of us ever going to hold the truth in our hands?

–Natalia Vargas-Caba

Natalia is from the Bronx, and finishing her undergraduate at Sarah Lawrence College on Creative Writing, Spanish, and Latin. She may be reached at

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