Illustration by Kat Morgan


We’re going to see the angels
my father says but in Spanish
because my mother and I do not
know English yet It is March 1974
and my sister will not be born
for two more years Child safety
seats are not required Gas has
never been more expensive My
father drives us 400 miles which
is a long time and I crane my neck
at the window to study the clouds
for the shape of wings but I am open
to unimagined forms since I have
never seen an angel yet and I can’t
wait but I wait paying no attention
to the hills beside us before the fires
to come burn them over and over
This is the year Nixon resigns and
the rumble in the jungle takes place
My parents are still married Perhaps
they’re still in love The previous week
the Terracotta Army was unearthed
and the world population reaches
four billion ¿Ya estamos allí? I ask
My father says Not yet In the same
month that Duke Ellington dies India
detonates its first nuclear weapon
More than twenty-five years away
my parents, my unborn sister and I
live and leap into the next century
In the fall in the heat of Hadar Lucy
is discovered and remains the oldest
hominid for longer than her own life
-time We’re here my father says so
I look up and see the everyday clouds
My pinched face studies them harder
but my mother is the one who tells
the truth so I turn to her and she says
Yes We’re here I am too young to
see us as we are just then three faces
squinting through a dusty windshield
illuminated by the shifting light But
where are the angels I ask That’s
just the city’s name she says

Cintia Santana

Cintia Santana is a poet and interdisciplinary artist. Her work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, The Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, Narrative, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, RHINO, The Threepenny Review, West Branch, and Best New Poets 2020 anthology. A recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, she teaches fiction and poetry workshops in Spanish, as well as literary translation courses at Stanford University.