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

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
It's time to put the aside the old resentments; lies,
machinations, the paranoia, bugs in telephones,
the body bags, secret bombings, his sweaty upper lip,
my cousin Arnie, too dumb to go to school,

too virtuous to confess he'd give blow jobs
for nothing at the Paramount, so he lost a leg
in Da Nang. Now it's
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

It is a Sunday afternoon on the Grand Canal. We are watching the sailboats trying to sail along without wind. Small rowboats are making their incisions on the water, only to have the wounds seal up again soon after they pass. In the background, smoke from the factories and smoke from the steamboats merges into tiny