Daye Phillippo: “The Conquering Hero”




Harvest season and our neighbor, David,
is working all hours in the fields. Sunday morning

as we’re driving out to church, we watch him
hand-over-hand, climb the metal ladder attached

to the side of his tall silver grain bin, then crouch,
find his balance, and free-form, scale its peaked cap

to flip open the round stopper at the top
so he can auger in corn or soybeans. His silhouette

against the sky is like that of some conquering hero
on a hill, and who’s to say he isn’t, battling

weather, insects and disease, fluctuating markets,
unavailable replacement parts, rising fuel costs.

SUPERIOR, the sign on the grain bin below him reads.
He glances down, and holding on with one hand,

waves at us with the other.



Daye Phillippo taught English at Purdue University and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Shenandoah, Presence, Cider Press Review, Twelve Mile Review, One Art, The Windhover, and many others. Her debut collection of poems, Thunderhead (Slant) was published in 2020.

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