Pajama/ poem by Linda McCauley Freeman

The poet Thomas Lux once told me
he loved the word pajama. Use it

in a poem and shake the whole thing
awake. Pa-Ja-Ma. The ja a German yes

between my parents. Pa-Ja-Ma.
I see my father, although I never 

called him Pa, nor saw him in pajamas—
he was an underwear sleeper, like

my husband. In fact, I have never seen
a grown man wearing pajamas except

in advertisements, especially around
Christmas and regarding slippers. Ma

or Jam might remind me of any mother
but my own. That wholesome image sucked 

into my brain: Father Knows Best in pajamas, 
Mother aproned in the kitchen making jam. 


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 and 2021 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

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