poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

“‘Ithaca’ fuses the contemporary Ithaca with the mythic Ithaca. I think of the island of Ithaca and at the same time the isolation I felt growing up. Unlike Homer’s Odyssey, this speaker’s experience has not been redeemed by story. This Ithaca’s suburban, full of replicate houses, cold, anonymous: it’s no place to return to.”

—Ira Sadoff

Ithaca

Ira Sadoff, 1945

I’ve been blessed
with a few gusts of wind,
a few loves
to wave goodbye to.
I still think of mother’s kitchen,
sorry for tantrums
of way back when. No frost
lodged in me then. In those days
snow spread through town
like an epidemic: how archival
the blankness seemed.
If you flew above
the shell of the old house
it was nothing really:
there was no story
to our little ranch house,
so you couldn’t hear a thing.

Copyright @ 2014 by Ira Sadoff. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 14, 2014.

Copyright @ 2014 by Ira Sadoff. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 14, 2014.

Ira Sadoff

Ira Sadoff

Ira Sadoff was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 7, 1945,

by this poet

poem
I sniff after the sparrow and the spaniel, flitting around,
barking, digging up the dirt: how could I not be
at one with them? But I'm a spendthrift too, rummaging about

old sport coats, selecting a style, a clash of styles—
in a private moment trying to decide who I am today by trying on
something discarded,
poem
The shaft of narrative peers down.
The soul's a petrified fleck of partridge this October. 
Mud-spattered, it thinks it's brush, it thinks 
it's one with the brush when God aims 

just below its feathers. It's too late to raise the soul, 
some ossified conceit we use to talk about deer 
as if we were deer, to
poem
The rabbi doesn't say she was sly and peevish,
fragile and voracious, disheveled, voiceless and useless,
at the end of her very long rope. He never sat beside her
like a statue while radio voices called to her from God.
He doesn't say how she mamboed with her broom,
staggered, swayed, and sighed afternoons,
till