Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 14, Number 2
(Fall 2019)

Copyright © 2019
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.
by Renee Emerson

It was a microdeletion.  A string of DNA fell off
like a leaf.  So her heart formed without instruction,
willful, every part of her coded wrong.  It grew roots,
wherever convenient, because she was still inside me,
and could do whatever she wanted and still live, unlike
most of us.  We prepare for everyone but me to keep her
breathing.  Another mother tells me this is where the stories
of babies stolen by fairies come from—the beautiful baby
turned blue in the moonlight.  I brought her here broken.
Nurses hush us up in a counseling room, away from other patients,
discretion a wall between the undiagnosed and a mother’s weeping.
My husband reminds me the doctors didn’t give it to her, just told us
what was already there, like weathermen, in their bad suits,
waving a hand to note coming changes in pressure.
by Renee Emerson

We filled that hole in the garden
big as my arm is thick though we knew
a living creature burrowed there—
some groundhog, luckless rabbit.
Slept, ate, perhaps bore young.  With their plump
hands and dark-lined fingernails, my daughters
helped me claw it closed.  Each stamped the turned
ground with a bare foot.  Some left to climb maples,
some stayed resting confident on my hip.
Creatures ourselves, we covered it just to see
if come morning, she’d dig her way out.


Renee Emerson is the author of two collections of poetry:
Threshing Floor, published by Jacar Press in 2016, and
Keeping Me Still, by Winter Goose Publishing in 2014.  She
earned her MFA in poetry from Boston University, where she
was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2009.  
In 2016, she was awarded an Individual Artist Grant by the
Arkansas Arts Council.  Emerson’s poetry has appeared in
32 Poems, Indiana Review, Literary Mama, Southern
Humanities Review
, and elsewhere.  More information is
available on her

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