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What I Learned in New Hampshire
Cristina M. R. Norcross

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.


Cristina M. R. Norcross lives in Wisconsin with her husband, their two sons, and a cat who loves to sleep on a warm, humming computer. Cristina is the founding editor of the online poetry journal, Blue Heron Review ( and the author of seven poetry collections. When not writing or editing, she travels to distant lands and designs jewelry from found treasures. Learn more about Cristina at



Post New Comment:
Those days are over for me, but I remember them fondly. Always good to hear your voice.
Posted 10/29/2013 09:48 PM
Love your poem Cristina. Parenting makes social beings of all of us, solitary or not. Really enjoyed your poem.
Posted 10/29/2013 11:05 AM
Lovely, Christina. I love the opening line, and the closing. You have a touch...
Posted 10/29/2013 10:44 AM
Your skill in telling this story is so good. I especially like the way you turn the poem on its ear with the last line - everything depends on that last line! I'm glad Jayne has helped me discover your work.
Posted 10/29/2013 09:46 AM
Wilda Morris:
Also in suburban Illinois, parenting creates friendships - even among the parents of teenagers!
Posted 10/29/2013 09:12 AM
o yes, I remember how it was...and I the only poet among them! fun poem, Cristina, and true...
Posted 10/29/2013 08:33 AM
Real and true. Thanks for a fabulous poem.
Posted 10/29/2013 08:07 AM
Sounds like small town Wisconsin, except we have Lake Michigan.
Posted 10/29/2013 07:31 AM
So true. So many friendships via parenthood, some over 40 years old now. I love the last two lines.
Posted 10/29/2013 05:43 AM

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