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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
Once I could say
my loyal friend, the house wren.

I might even sing to him.
Did I not hear the beatific,

the breathlessness—
a patter shaking the tamarind pod,

the bright green feathery foliage
stammered by a breeze?

Those muttering implosions,
did nothing intend them?

Is the harp, too, obsolete?

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
poem
When I came back, he was gone.
My mother was in the bathroom
crying, my sister in her crib
restless but asleep. The sun
was shining in the bay window,
the grass had not been cut.
No one mentioned the other woman,
nights he spent in that stranger's house.

I sat at my desk and wrote him a note.
When my mother saw