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 collections of poetry, most recently Blue Structure (Calypso Editions), and co-editor of Sisters: An Anthology (Wesleyan University Press/Paris Press). Her poems are forthcoming or recently appeared in The Brooklyn Rail,  North American Review, Poetry, Salamander, Nine Mile, and Welcome to the Resistance: Poetry as Protest. She was the founding director of Paris Press and now teaches at the MASS MoCA Writing through Art Poetry Retreats, and provides editorial services and manuscript consultations to poets and writers.