There must be something in the water,
said my neighbor.
I learned that pregnancy is sometimes contagious.
Within six months we all had babies.
We started a mommy playgroup
for our communal sanity.
I learned that in small-town America,
Halloween decorating is competitive.
The blow-up jack-o’-lanterns keep getting bigger and bigger.
And never leave a big bowl of sweets
with a sign that says “take one” unattended.
I learned that even if you are a solitary,
non-joiner kind of person,
parenthood will suddenly make you social —
the need for adult conversation
outweighs the need for privacy.
Winter lasts at least until egg-hunting time,
but if you stand on the back porch,
with the wind coming in the right direction,
you can still smell the ocean.
This poem first appeared in the 2013 Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar.
Used here with the author’s permission.