Mother Church No. 3 | Robin Coste Lewis

(Kin Kletso/”Yellow House”
Chaco Canyon, San Juan County, New Mexico
Anasazi Ruins, 1125-1130 AD)
                                for Henri-Raphael, at 2

You step down into the Flat World
Then ask me to say it, to explain

How our name can mean both ancestor
And enemy.  Your body begins in four directions.

Here one calendar takes eighteen years.
I am three.  One day is an eyelash.

Your body is a segment of prehistoric road,
A buried stairwell with only the top stair obvious.

We are alluvial, obsidian.
Sometimes the ground swells

With disappointment.  Sometimes we know our mountains
Will be re-named after foreign saints.

We sing nine-hundred year old hymns
That instruct us in how to sit still

For forty-nine years
Through a fifty-year drought.

We climb down through the hole anyway,
And agree to the arrangement.