Net Worth

Let’s talk equalities, exchange rates:
There are sixteen pebbles in a rock, three rocks
in a stone, and little to no stones
in a sawbuck. A fist is scarcely adequate
replacement for a heart, regardless of relative size.
Look over there—so that’s where
the buck stops, where unstoppable force
meets immovable debt. This war
is impressive—you can tell by the gift shop.
Multiply a four-year institution of learning
by its cost-to-benefit ratio, repeat
for the number of American Dreamers
and you’ve got yourself a reliable
income base (Solve for “You”). It’s an elite
university, we’re an exceptional nation—you can tell
by the incarceration rates, the efficiency
with which we feed bodies into the chipper,
the economy of our languages, recessing.
Look for the littlest portions of self,
snapped down to fit in a headline, the sum of parts
being measured and meted for spices and gold.


Brandon Amico lives in North Carolina. He is the recipient of a Regional Artist Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council and the winner of Southern Humanities Review’s Hoepfner Literary Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Awl, Booth, The Cincinnati Review, Kenyon Review, New Ohio Review, and Verse Daily, among other publications.