These Ithacas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The rumor, when I lived there, was that before their discovery, Ithaca’s suicides floated for months in the stratified thermal layers of Cayuga Lake, suspended like jarred specimens until they washed up at Taughannock Point or at the state marine park on the Inlet. Flung from the town’s dozens of spectacular precipices, the bodies, reports held, would carom down Cascadilla Gorge or Six Mile Creek before sinking, waterlogged and battered, to the lake’s thermocline at 120 feet. At that depth, boaters related strange sonar readouts. Fishermen weighted their lures, taking advantage, as they often described it, of “unusual activity” between the warmer and cooler strata. Out kayaking one afternoon, a girlfriend and I peered warily into the murk and shafted light beneath us, Cayuga’s great kelp forests reaching up, green silt swelling and ebbing away. I imagined the terrible depths over which we hovered, our boat some child’s plaything drifting across the abyss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-41
Number of pages20
JournalMissouri Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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