Linda McCauley Freeman

The Things I Would Save

A refugee holds his small daughter’s hand and carries an even smaller plastic shopping bag of belongings. How do you decide what to take when leaving home, perhaps forever? Would an American ever leave with such a bag? I remember the car rental agency at Dublin airport where an American family stood surrounded by luggage, perplexed by all their shapes and sizes that would not fit into their tiny rental, the father arguing loudly and impossibly with the Hertz employee. Am I as guilty of American consumption? I pass five storage facilities between my house and Hannaford’s, the supermarket itself holding more food than I’ve ever seen visiting other countries. What would I save if I had to run? I, who always overpack yet wear the same few things when traveling, just as I do at home, where my closet is full but my destinations are limited. If it were a fire, I wouldn’t search for my cell phone but might grab my laptop full of writing, not to be forever missing like Hemmingway’s suitcase. But a hostile country marching ever closer? I still can’t imagine it, can’t even think what I would save when all that matters is

so utterly lost.


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 was the featured poet in
The Poet Magazine, and appeared in Delta Poetry Review, 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
and Twitter@LindaMccFreeman