You're Just Dirt

You're Just Dirt
By Roger Dunsmore
Published by Foothills Publishing

108 page hand-stitched paper book with spine
See more and purchase:
You're Just Dirt at Foothills Publishing


Roger Dunsmore was the guest on Montana Public Radio's The Write Question: Listen to the interview here


You're Just Dirt reviewed in the Missoula Independent

"You're Just Dirt — the culmination of more than forty years of poetic practice — reveals Roger Dunsmore as a true master whose work speaks explicitly to a particular place, this American West. Once again Roger brings us powerful poems revealing Montana's rich and dark history, beautiful lyrics celebrating the natural world and love between humans, poems in the voices of underdogs and outlaws, and fierce articulations of his understanding of Native American culture. Whether he is writing about prisoners in Deer Lodge, the flight of a hummingbird, moments of unbearable grief, a Sioux winter count, or the “patience of bears,” he offers us poems, rich in particulars and infinitely tender, that celebrate a shared humanity and sing the dailiness of a life that claims his most profound affection."

Rick Newby,
author of The Suburb of Long Suffering

       (for James Peshlakai)

Three birds leave a tamarisk tree,
three birds as if they are one,
and the flick of lizard
into a cracked boulder,
quickest motion,
like the stone's mouth,
like its tongue.
This lizard licks
uranium tailings leaching
from the mine into the water
above Moenkopi Village.

When the government standards
are read at the public hearing:
Place an earth and cement cap
over the tailings that will last
for a thousand years,
the company men smile slightly:
A thousand years?
We won't be here, this company.
Why, even this government....

A small man from the village
raises his hand.
A thousand years, he says.
We'll be here.

We buy corn from a man
selling Navajo Bibles too,
Bibles mixed in with corn the color of sky
tumbled in the back of his truck.
Home, he says,
is a clean heart,
turquoise washed by rain
for a thousand years.