Ira Sadoff

I’m Not Waiting and Out of the Past
December 26, 2021 Sadoff Ira



I’m no longer waiting for the dunes of Tulum,
a glass house by the sea, I’m not waiting for my magnolia
to bloom, the right person, the wrong person,
I’m not waiting for forgiveness. I don’t want any
more harbingers, talisman, I’m not waiting for my lover
to return that bracelet, with its red ruby shining on her wrist,
the air thick with jasmine, all I associate with that knowing –
forgive me that moment, the scent of history
drove me back – but I can’t wait for this country to repair
its system of slaves and masters, I’m not waiting for the graveyard,
the crematorium, no longer will I wait for greatness —
that high wire act, the balancing pole, the miracle
you can see forty stories high — what’s human about the walker
hardly visible from the earth; his show lasts
a minute, maybe less, but I’m not waiting for him to finish,
and I’m no longer waiting for the gods to correct their mistakes.
Whatever’s left before me won’t take a bow, it won’t hide its face.





When the suitcase opened to end the marriage
it was like the day my mother stopped breathing.
It was also like crawling out of my car
when I took a curve too fast: rolling down a hill.
I said to my passengers I’m so sorry.
There were no passengers. There was numbness
in my legs and I was sure I’d never walk again.
Of course I walked. And later I loved twice more.
But that night she stiffened, with a look of rage
painted on her face. We don’t forgive each other
much in this life. That’s why I was on my knees
at her bedside, at our bedside, begging for
I don’t know what or how to bring love back
once the suitcase is packed, once the eyes are closed
and the nurse asks you to sit in the hall
for there are sheets to be changed, work to be done.

Ira Sadoff’s the author of eight collections of poetry, most recently COUNTRY, LIVING (Alice James,2020) and TRUE FAITH (BOA Editions, 2012). He’s published a novel, UNCOUPLINGTHE IRA SADOFF READER, and HISTORY MATTERS (U.of Iowa Press), a critical book on poetry and culture. He’s been widely anthologized and awarded grants from the Guggenheim Fellowship and the NEA. Poems and an interview appear in the new issue of BRILLIANT CORNERS. He lives in a stone cottage in Ulster County, New York.