John Freeman

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John Freeman

Dawn in Erie, Pennsylvania

A church, Shaker,
at the base of a
roadway sloped and
bald, last week’s
salt has drawn all the
secret water from
the asphalt. Street
empty, blue
and black and quiet.
A Mobil station
at the end of the
block, a glowing sign:
Gas $2.80 a gallon.

John Freeman reads “Dawn in Erie, Pennsylvania”


The Commute

At the intersection
near Odeon
a man on a red
bicycle straddling
the hot black
pavement leans
forward and shakes
out his long blond
hair. It’s not good
hair, its undersides
the color of river
slurry, tips a yellow not made
by nature. But morning
light catches it
as he tosses
the remaining wet
of his recent shower
to the street, flings his
head back and gazes up
at the sun, like an ’80s
rock god just before
bursting into a guitar
solo. Crosstown traffic
slows, then stops, and he
pedals off, leaving a damp
halo behind, some
of the light.

John Freeman reads “The Commute”



At sundown kestrels call to each other across the gar-
den, flocking in the large elm tree that stands over the
shed like an elder waiting patiently at a parade. In a year
they’ll disperse, as some hunters must, but now they
take a slow route home, crisscrossing the air in forma-
tion like pilots doing barrel rolls, loop the loops, even
hammerheads. All to cascades of song. When the singing
stops and the birds still, the trees move gently in the wet
air like applause.

John Freeman reads “Show”


John Freeman is the founder of the literary annual Freeman’s, and an executive editor at Alfred A. Knopf. The author and editor of eleven books, he lives in New York City. His latest book is Wind, Trees, a collection of poems.