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How Deep in the Valley

While passing the time in a coffee shop
with a latte and Facebook,
a photo pops up of you on a lawn

of dandelions. I laugh to see your elfin face,
short, punky, chestnut hair, silver ring
in your nose. Salut Mahalia

you didn’t die! It’s been a bad dream.
I look again. I see it’s a three-year-old memory.
You and Ellemere in the purple sweaters

you knitted. A happy day with your baby
and your favorite weed, before cancer
took you from us. With cruel

timing, the song we sang at your funeral,
Sarah Harmer’s How Deep in the Valley,
plays on the sound system. I weep for you

my firstborn child. Twelve months now.
Friends say Sorry. Surprised I’m still grieving.
It comforts. Sometimes. After a parent buries

a child there is no gentle choreography to help
us through to the other side past grief.
There is no other side.

Poet Roseanne Freed lives in Southern California. She shares her fascination for the natural world with kids by leading them on hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains.