Linda McCauley Freeman


I put the red wet seed into your mouth
my fingers lingered between your lips
your fingers in my mouth
our tongues tasting flesh fruit
I hardly knew you
we became fingers over tongues
dipping into fruit
neither of us had ever tasted.


You are the tongue
in my ear caress that leaves me
bruised I cannot say how
this happened except
that I planned it looked for it
as long ago as when he first
rolled away from me
when I wanted him
and when I asked him
if I should take a lover
only laughed thought he
knew me from my heart
thought that would keep
my body still now it is after
and I can feel my toes again.


Kissed so strong the skin
blued you are loud in my ear
your name circling my head
I cannot push you away
now that you are not here
just as I could not push you away
when you were.


I draw inside my mouth
a river of you, your body be
coming inside. Our love
wrapped in flowers, hidden
in a deep divide. There is
a void lush as we sink
into the soft grass, spent
and panting.
Stoke a fire
make me glisten
under your hands
rough where the wood
edged calluses square and wide
move me like a lathe
splinter me.


You put your cold hand in my coat pocket,
feel my leg through the torn lining.
“You have a hole in your pocket,” you tell me.
If you were my husband, I would praise you
for pointing out the obvious. But you are not
my husband, who would never put his hand
in my pocket. Because you are who you are
and not who you are not, I say,
“That makes it big enough for both of us,”
and join your hand in my pocket.


I hold my heart in chunks in my hand
I want to be with you wake in your arms
feel your chest hair under my fingers
your heart beating repeating
I love you I love you
to bathe in the deep tub of your love
let you lather me with more
than I have ever known
but I look at my husband
feel the old bearded love
that hope of if only
against the sure fire of you. 


You can’t see the scar over my heart
for years my husband
ran a locomotive over those tracks
and I hung on through tunnels
for the brief moments
we exploded into daylight
but this metaphor is weary now
I need to find the exit
get help with my baggage.

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