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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, December 5, 2016.
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

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.

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

Craig Morgan Teicher

Craig Morgan Teicher

Craig Morgan Teicher is the author of The Trembling Answers (BOA Editions, 2017), winner of the 2018 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.

by this poet

poem

Of course I don’t know what
happens to us: if we survive in the
hands of love; if Cal, if Simone
and all the trembling answers
those questions entail; whether
by time or by disease or by
an atom bomb right in the eye. Is it
possible death could be thrilling
and fun? And after

poem

Lately we invite this stranger into our home
to watch over, like an angel or good dog,
                                                                          our son.

But she is not angelic, not graceful, her slippers
flopping like sad clown shoes. And it’s wrong

to compare this nurse

poem

There must be soft words
for an evening like this, when the breeze
caresses like gentle fingertips
all over. I don’t know

how not to write darkly and sad.
But it’s two years today since
my little girl was born, cut safely
from the noose.

We meant nothing but hope