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Vocation

Winter 2015 - Vol. 57, No. 1

 

This poem appears in the Winter 2015 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, go here.


 

His hair not completely gray,
not yet.
The red on his face and neck
hides freckles.
He knows where he comes from.

His socks are thick and warm.
He has girded his boyish upper lip
against the cold:
a garment of orange bristles,
worn and fading.
He knows where he lives.

In spite of it all
(in spite of the gunmetal
and rosewood), humble
and observant.
He knows, as they say, where he is going.

His hands swift and careful and strong,
stained and scarred with work.
But his nails are clean.
The guests are leaving, laughing, while
his wife comforts a straggler:
the children and vagabonds are sleeping.
Behold the philosopher king!—
he is doing the dishes.

 

Jacob Culberson is an undergraduate student in philosophy and literature at Vanderbilt University.