Ira Sadoff
There's No Rigor Like the Old Rigor II

Was it something uncleaved, clean-cut you wanted?

Something cheerleader, vacuumed, clean-shaven?

Before the truck stop marred stands of cedar. Before father

succumbed to the secretary, scribbled a note or two on his tie? 

It says something about us

that we no longer read Ovid. Of course, 

some don't like to be shunned, stepped on,

spurned, excluded, don't like to be shuttled back and forth

between the barge and the mansion, serving him

hot milk while he reads Stendahl by the fire.

They like to be admired, chauffeured, they like silver,

fellatio, they like to be stirred, to stray from the herd,

called not just when they're needed but missed. 

You wanted something whole. One God.

What's wrong with that? In the paintings, the Gods

are happy. Why shouldn't they be? Beauty

had a certain volume. The cracked foot of the statue David.

When windows were still church windows,

before stained-glass would disintegrate into slag and gravel

if you brought back the blitzkrieg, those shiny pornographic photos. . . . 

Lingerie shred in the hall. A party

you hardly remember.

It was like this. You had a few ideas about women.

A few women gave you ideas.

But why indulge in the shattered lampshade,

the painting askew on the inner wall?

What matters is what always mattered.

Standards. The station of the cross. Grace. The good

shucked from the bad with a good sharp knife.

The time before the the. The first time. The first wife. 

Found In Volume 26, No. 04
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Ira Sadoff
About the Author

Ira Sadoff is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Barter, and Grazing (U. of Illinois), a novel, O. Henry prize-winning short stories, and The Ira Sadoff Reader (a collection of stories, poems, and essays about contemporary poetry).