Balance Sheet – by John Hicks

This poem was chosen for a musical response by Featured Musician, Kelsey Wells.

Balance Sheet

Farm kitchen table
white Formica top,
wiping rag drying
over the spigot,
window curtain
stiff, unmoving.

John Deere cap
on the other chair,
he’s staring at the back
of an envelope,
at a column of figures
from the whittled
stub in his right hand.
Left hand runs
through thinning hair.

Pencil hand hovers over
what’s below the line
of adds and subtracts.

Other side
of the balance sheet
resists arithmetic:
Drought. Hail. Insects.
Market price.

John Hicks is an emerging poet: has been published or accepted for publication by: Blue Nib, I-70 Review, Bangor Literary Journal, Mojave River Review, Glint Literary Journal, and others. In 2016 he completed an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska – Omaha. He writes in the thin air of northern New Mexico.

Art: “Fissure” by Sandy Coomer - 6X6, acrylic pour on claybord
Statement: I thought about green fields and the colors of crops, but I also imagined the white formica table top and the equally honest work of "adding and subtracting." The breaks in this piece represent the struggle, the pressure, how things sometimes just don't add up.

Music: "Lullaby for Lottie" by Kelsey Wells
Statement: This imagery of farm plans and calculations vividly reminds me of the living room walls of my friends Abraham and Ashlyn’s farmhouse. They are often covered with taped-up sheets of brown paper, filled with sketches and tables about that season’s growing and pasturing. This is a tune I wrote for a favorite of their cows.