Poem of the Week | March 07, 2022

This week’s Poem of the Week is “the sentinel speaks to me on the post-apocalyptic dance floor” by Cintia Santana.

Cintia Santana teaches fiction and poetry workshops in Spanish, as well as literary translation courses at Stanford University. A recipient of Djerassi and CantoMundo fellowships, her work has appeared in Best New Poets 2020, Beloit Poetry Journal, Guernica, The Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, The Threepenny Review, West Branch, and other journals. Her first poetry collection, The Disordered Alphabet, is forthcoming from Four Way Books. To learn more go to: www.cintiasantana.com


the sentinel speaks to me on the post-apocalyptic dance floor

                           – after Wangechi Mutu’s “She Walks”, 2019
                           (red soil, charcoal, paper pulp, wood, and synthetic hair)

              honey, she tells me, you’re gonna disco
with a gas mask on. look at that platform
              shoe on you. no matter your other foot’s
cloven. our bones are made of wood to
              remind us to give the trees their due
respect. we’re branches and paper pulp.
              always were. next time you go outside,
listen to the leaves–that’s your soul moving
              windward. but now’s the time to
do the Bump, the Latin Hustle; shake that
              fly winged cape of yours, fringe so long
it sweeps the floor. and let me tell you about those
              knees–they don’t ever need repair. no disco
biscuit ever did that. can’t you feel the music
              stepping up your pulse? you go ahead and
strut. that’s the way. never been a better time to
              stay alive and rock a catsuit. and when we’re
good and done with this dance floor light show,
              these mirror balls in which there is no end,
let’s go check out that reactor leaking through
              the ceiling once again–if it’s a quick fix or a pipe
that needs to be snaked. before the temperature
              drops. before the sadness sets in.


Author’s Note

Whatever becomes of us, room will still be made for joy.