The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Fever Dream/Take Heart by Valyntina Grenier


He tells the child about the turn of the seasons
about seeds and how flowers rise
Her chest compresses against the bathroom sink
He gazes in his eyes jerking and panting lies
See it’s raining he sighs
As I touch the bleeding swords of the sun
I say as I climb
through the scorching front seats
I’ll drive
to the center of the sun
to save our lives
I leap stone steps
built into the curve of a tower wall
to find my self dreaming this life
I run screaming to my mother’s side
away from a future
adolescent me
revolving slowly in a cave
w/ rays of light streaming
from my mouth nose and eyes
Fetal light like the tip of my toddler finger
translucent over the power light
on my great grandmother’s electric organ

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this selection comes from the book, Fever Dream/Take Heart, available from Cathexis Northwest Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Valyntina Grenier’s FEVER DREAM / TAKE HEARTmarks a poetic “double debut” with a tête-bêche chapbook, two titles bound upside-down with two front covers (featuring paintings by Grenier), which can be read from either side. The poems shape their sense from sound, but do not hesitate to critique/navigate/decipher reality with a feminist protest. Associative and dreamy, the poems also prove to be starkly political. They explore how we are miraculously alive in the midst of degrading political and weather systems. Some of the poems derive their initial lexicon from source texts, but they all confront the tenderness and violence that mark our human natures. With subtle humor, word play, and linguistic inventions, Grenier has written a surprising tour de force whose discrete short books, taken together, range from the sexual and sinister to the prayerful and divine.

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about women with a socio-economic disadvantage and the effect of trauma, hearing loss, homelessness, and violence in their lives. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens, The Selkie Literary Magazine, LipServices Miami, Writing Class Radio, and The Cream Literary Alliance. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @nilsawrites.


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