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Four Poems

The chaura berry and the palomita orchid. The yellow violet
and the pan de indio. Firebush, chau-chau, moss and shale.
Hog-nosed skunks, the Southern Cross, a red fox named
Martín. Lenga leaf, paramela, shallow-rooted trees stunted
by the wind. This wind. The Huemul glacier and the Huemul
lagoon. Cliffs not worn but sheared. The wind howling,
the wind howling. The austral pygmy owl calling. Calafate.
Zapatito de la Virgen. Ñirre. At night, I dream of blue gods.
I dream it is so dark I cannot find the exit. El Chaltén. Punta
Sur. Aguas Arriba. The milk-blue river in the glacier’s shadow
snaking through the desert steppe. Coyhaique. Puyuhuapi.
Bloodied sheep hoof, bone, and wool, puma-left. Gunshot
sounds; Perito Moreno calving. The Tehuelche tell of a god
so lonely his tears create the sea. Bariloche. Punta Tombo.
Ushuaia. I am far from home. Whose wrath do I flee?



Two trees and a question.
A red chicken in a partial frame—wild!
Bodies without organs.
A little mouth with little teeth. Nuns!
Not one. None!
Human reproduction on a copy machine.
Odor; three-sided
rhomboids; the social life of the page
—in several hands, all
of the seventeenth century. The hair at the back
of my head; the drum in your chest.
Bassoons. Baby baboons. Rain-trot
on roof. Libraries after dark
(—so wild!). Wigs. A forest full
of gongs gleaming; reading
in reverse. The slippery spot on a spotted floor.
The inventor of barbed wire. My love
and I, resisting rescue.


Poem in Which Someone Else Takes Charge

The teeth and the tomatoes
forgotten on the counter
would never have happened
on my watch. I am letting it go.
Yes, I am. Leaving now. Remorse
-less little teeth. Hose, wrinkled
at the ankles. High wind peaking;
I now appoint myself spotted
lamb. Subject to no one, my body
as it flies over the wreckage, as it
flickers in the not-yet-darkened
light. When I’m blown back by storm,
into the future, I can see the taming
of fire, the introduction of the potato,
the virus jumping through the air.
As the bur oak come to rest, wholly
uprooted, on a piece of broken fence,
just so, by force of destiny, I am
landed in a loam-rich field, beside
a new-built barn, shorn.



        and gust, must
you insist again? By just
        such truths storms break booms. Slam. Retreat.
Brought by water, returned by water.

        walls dare land
-fall. Surge. Wreckage. Blue hour bears
        down now. Switches. Power lines. Lashed,
submerged in salt. Will it do then to

        them out or,
better yet, tunnel deeper?
        Restore the power. Restore the
sun. Unrip the roof. Run, trains, again,

        I make no
mistake; your crooked course aims
        straight for me. I am harbor, sea
gate under siege. Raise me the waters.
        Batter me, I am path.

Cintia Santana teaches fiction and poetry workshops in Spanish, as well as literary translation courses at Stanford University. The recipient of fellowships from the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and CantoMundo, her work has appeared in Best New Poets 2020Beloit Poetry JournalGuernicaThe Iowa ReviewKenyon ReviewPleiadesPoetry Northwest, The Threepenny ReviewWest Branch, and other journals. Her first poetry manuscript, The Disordered Alphabet, is forthcoming from Four Way Books. To learn more go to: