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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
A mist appalls the windshield. 
So I still see trees as moral lessons, 
as I pass under them, shadowy and astute.

The glazed aspen branches hover. 
Ice heats up and cracks, road tar steams 
like some animal where the blush 

of cheek is chilled by annunciation. 
I cannot say her face was trauma driven.
I'm
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
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,