Relational Epistemology, Heather Phillipson

Cherry Genoa cake

‘It’s whatever you want it to be,’ said my father
after he bisected My Little Pony and used her in a sculpture.
At bedtime he read me Kafka’s short fiction.

‘All men are not idiots,’ my mother advised,
‘but beware of Structuralists;
life will never be a matter of signifiers and signs.’

She gave up her copy of Some Day My Prince Won’t Come
with a dedication: ‘Darling, Don’t be limited
by propositional modes of representation! xx’

Preparation of Rich Cherry Genoa was methodological.
My father paraphrased Merleau-Ponty: ‘the toucher touching touched.’
His hands around the mixing bowl, she sifted sugar.

It helped them contextualise the relationship between Self
and Other. Phenomenology at the dinner table was not unusual.
My brother queried so-called ‘pepper’, so-called ‘ketchup’,

ingested as if objective fact. The colour ‘red’ is not universal.
Mainly, my sister slept at any hour.
‘See!’ said my mother,

‘The claim that all experience might be mediated by language
is one all women know to be preposterous.
And besides, Wittgenstein is dead.’

Over dessert, however, she absolved him
on account of her cake and his raisins. ‘It’s like Ludwig said,
raisins may be the best part of a cake

but a bag of raisins is not better than a cake.
My cake isn’t, as it were, thinned-out raisins,
as you will know from experience.’

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