Landscape with Fall of Civilization: Imaginings After Touring Chaco Canyon and Canyon de Chelly by Tim Moder

The rain has come to ionize the alien frontier,
calling out storms over a smeared earth.

We sit in varying stages of anesthesia staring
at the long sky, the secondhand measured in lives.

We disciple new religions with the sun and
the moon. We abandon them as they dismay.

We survey the rim of heaven with our elastic eyes.
Rivers of rock cramp down the divine slide.

A world of slants and angles, temples
and monuments. Here are the pyramids of America.

Hard love flowers in the stoic ground, mixed blood
pushes up strange vineyards among ancient runways.

Here we breathe the scent of broken cactus, running
the mazes and labyrinths as Whiptail and Black Phoebe.

Missionaries came to sing the prairies, but the sun
burned firm over cracked enchanted missions of Cibola.

Our gold bones are hollowed in the painted cliffs.
Not even the flood will drown our sorrow.

Tim Moder is a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. His poems have appeared in South Florida Poetry Journal, Door Is A Jar Magazine, Main Street Rag, Olney Magazine, and others. Twitter @ModerTim