Linda McCauley Freeman

Cattle Song with Violin

Second Place

We came over the hill

following the sound

There was a man there

in the sound

And we knew he was calling to us

And the sound drew us forth

Away from our cud and chew

The sound recognized

Something in our souls

That we had Souls

That we are Sentient

Not just chuck or shoulder

Branded flesh and beef

But cow whole and beautiful

We knew music

When we heard it

Turned our identical

Heartbeats to it.

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, 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