Jan Freeman

Hanging the Dirty Laundry
April 18, 2021 Freeman Jan

Hanging the Dirty Laundry


Father’s ties were mother’s noose
Round he wrapped the cotton, silk
Under through, he pulled them tight
Over the bag, over her head
Mother drugged with sedatives
Boom! Dead!
He changed his mind
when mother smiled
He called the cops: Come! Suicide!
She nearly died, father cried
Our hero, all the children cried
My hero, frightened mother lied
Bad mother, all the children whined
And turned their backs on suicide
Selfish, greed, the children said
Yes, we wish mother were dead
And each child loved their father more
Or loved her less
Marriage was a suicide
that mother finally survived
when father died

Jan Freeman is the author of three books of poetry, including Blue Structure and Simon Says, which was nominated for an NBCC. During a 2023 MacDowell fellowship, she completed her new manuscript, The Odyssey of Yes and No. Her poems recently appeared in North American Review, Salamander, the Brooklyn Rail, and Barrow Street. She directs the MASS MoCA Writing Through Art Poetry Retreats.