Linda McCauley Freeman


When I was
little my brother
and I would climb
down the ladder
at the deep end
of the pool.
went deeper, held                    

longer underwater
won. Water pushed
me up as I pushed                   

myself down, my

long hair swimming
above me, cheeks 

puffing. I am afraid
of drowning.  

I would always be first
to break surface,
wait for my brother
to rise.


My husband
and I walk
the drained
What’s left
crosses us:
wooden boats,
an old blue bottle.

Ice chimes tingle
across broken
My husband
goads me,
rock to rock. 

I toss
the bottle to him.
It crashes
against stone.


I went without
but found it
in my knees
which shook

Knew with each
turn, I would fall.

To lose control

is to fall.


What I need
and what I have
on a trapeze
I cannot
grasp one

the other. I want

to release

live in the gasp

letting go
and getting

About the Author

Linda McCauley Freeman is the author of the full-length poetry collection The Family Plot (Backroom Window Press, 2022) and has been widely published in international journals, including in a Chinese translation. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize 2022. Recently she appeared in Delta Poetry Review, Poet Magazine, Amsterdam Quarterly, and won Grand Prize in StoriArts’Maya Angelou poetry contest. She received a grant from Arts MidHudson and was selected for Poets Respond to Art 2020, 2021 and 2022 shows. She was a three-time winner in the Talespinners Short Story contest judged by Michael Korda. She has an MFA from Bennington College and is the former poet-in-residence of the Putnam Arts Council. She lives in the Hudson Valley, NY. Follow her at