I've Become My Mother

essay published in Catapult Magazine


How to Give Great Gifts

article published in Catapult Magazine


My 13-year-old Little Woman Speaks to 23-year-old Me on Another Halloween

published in Catapult Magazine

original 10.16.2000


The Law of Love

A Life of the Ages song
lyrics by Steve Lansingh
music by Steve Lansingh & Amanda Caldwell

Download the mp3
Listen online at ReverbNation.com or below (track #8)


Official audio disclaimer/apology


Two Piece

My baby doesn't swim when I do,
an hour every Friday,
pushing myself off from the sides
while he (she?) floats,
weightless and silent.

Each night
I hypnotize my limbs,
let my thoughts rise like bubbles,
feel my body loose and limp,

and then the swimming of my baby begins,
dancing past my stillness.

This is not part of me.

You are a new self.

You will never stay
within the narrow ropes of my lane.
Disregarding my favorite games,
choosing unlikely teammates,
evading what I enjoy
and pursuing what I do not.
Darting past
my must-haves, my absolutes,
and turning back to laugh.

You will choose
and plan
and dream
and move,

I don't need to cut the cord
to symbolize what I already know.
I have your constant beating fins
to kick it into me.

You will repel the lifeguards'
calls and cautions,
diving into the cold headfirst.

From placenta to milk to mothering,
you'll freestyle to and away,
surprising me with a splash,
to take what you need
and give what you choose.

Bare feet slapping the deck,
child's triumphant echoes to the ceiling,
chlorine sharp in your nose,
swim free from me,

from this pool out into the
wild, wide ocean.

I gladly slice the line holding you
and grant what is not mine to give —



I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies. Do you believe this? — Jesus

Robin like the hope of spring
Robin like the blue of an egg, the peace of that blue filtering through me and healing

We buried you, Robin,
or maybe it was umbilical cord or placenta or blood (but let's believe),
in the hardy mum that weathered
summer and winter, drought and flood,
one journey from East Coast to Midwest in the oppressive droopiness of summer,
and one from Midwest to West Coast in the blasting chills of winter,
and even my unmotherly indifference.
Will I one day be a Hardy Mum, Robin?
I feel more like a Bleeding Girl.

Robin, a unique mix of two people who loved you,
and we'll never know if you had brown eyes or Caldwell green,
or if you skipped the odds entirely and went with your namesake blue,
like a daring surprise in a nondescript nest.
Would you inherit my chirping child's always-singing voice,
your dad's flights into the airy forgetfulness of thought,
my persistent hopefulness for a green thumb as I dig in the dirt?

Robin like a wish
Like a wish
Like a wish

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