You Fall into It

Daye Phillippo Click to

dayephotoDaye Phillippo is a graduate of Purdue University and Warren Wilson MFA for Writers. She is the recipient of The Elizabeth George Grant and a Mortarboard Fellowship for poetry. Her poems have appeared, or are forthcoming in Natural Bridge, The Comstock Review, The Fourth River, North Central Review, Cider Press Review, Shenandoah and others. She lives in a creaky, old farmhouse on twenty rural acres in Indiana with her husband and their youngest son.

That ink stain
shaped like Kentucky,
on my Great-grandfather Orpheus’ library table
at which I now sit to translate Hebrew.
I wonder what he would think, this ancestor,
this “Beloved Country Minister,” his gravestone reads,
born a hundred years before me
in a time when it was expected that a woman
would pore only over Godey’s Lady’s Book,
I know you will pardon my long silence,
when you learn the important fact that I am at housekeeping,
or receipts clipped from newspapers,
add butter the size of a walnut.
Housekeeping as holy writ, butter as The Way.

His twenty years of writing sermons.
His wife, in the kitchen
creaming butter and sugar by hand
with a green-handled wire whip, blue bowl
tucked firmly against her side.
The inkspill.
What caused it?  Epiphany or distraction?
The Man called Jesus, or a scarlet
cardinal flown to the boxelder just outside
the study window singing, what cheer-cheer-cheer?
And Orpheus, did he call out to his wife?
Did she step out of the kitchen?


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