Raina J. León


Raina J. León, Cave Canem graduate fellow (2006), CantoMundo fellow, and member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, has been published in numerous journals as a writer of poetry, fiction and nonfiction.  Her first collection of poetry, Canticle of Idols, was a finalist for both the Cave Canem First Book Poetry Prize and the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize . Her second book, Boogeyman Dawn (2013, Salmon Poetry), was a finalist for the Naomi Long Madgett Prize.  She has received fellowships and residencies with Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Montana Artists Refuge, the Macdowell Colony, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Annamaghkerrig, Ireland and Ragdale.  She also is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latino and Latina arts.  She is an assistant professor of education at Saint Mary’s College of California. 


Here the space where reality slips into trance,
the hazy haunting of habit – a side of the bed, a glass
tapped on the bar before slipping fire down an
upturned throat, the ghost trail of fingers felt
on the breast before the seeker searches the hand
out to do its real work – querencia.  More than fondness
for a place or a certain light, it is the tip of poison
in the pleasure, the lily of the valley with its curved,
white petals perched on a child’s tongue like a bell
just about to be rung. 






© The Acentos Review 2014