New Jersey

I was afraid the past would catch up with me,
would find this new house too like the scarred
old childhood home. But it hasn’t yet. A tree
casts soft and gentle shade over our green yard.
I feel forgiven all the sins I didn’t commit
for long minutes at a time. What were they?
I can’t now think of anything wrong with me—I fit
in these rooms, can mostly agree to each day.
For long minutes I don’t even blame my mother
for dying, my father for spending years in bed.
My little traumas are just souvenirs of other
lives, of places I might have once visited.
I’m mostly a father here, a husband, barely a son.
The big sun rises early here, as I do, with everyone.


Copyright © 2016 by Craig Morgan Teicher. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 5, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“After over a decade in Brooklyn, New York, city life just stopped working for my family, so we moved to New Jersey, where life has been working very well. I grew up in the suburbs and had a rough time, so I was scared moving back to the suburbs would freak me out. It hasn’t, but I’ve been writing lots of sonnets as a way of thinking it through.”
—Craig Morgan Teicher