This me, not that me, that them, no, the other them, that we, or this we, all we, both of them, and all of we, when there, not here, but me then, before then, and before we, when we, how we, when we spoke then, never spoke back to them, then. Silent we, resilient we, existed, as an existential us, observing with restraint and bemusement (terror), a noisy them, childish them, and if we over-spoke, we spoke using our bodies to them, head tilted or hand back at them, or facing them with all our backs, never breaking face, so masked to all senses of them, all tenses of we, over-prepared.
We had better. We had better be better than them. We had better be better beginning and end, early and fitful. We had better be better beginning and in the middle, too. Be better between life and death, better in the visible and sure better than them in the places they overlooked, than them and their soundtrack. We had better be better than them who draft and re-draft them-selves, “what destroyed me, created them,” or so we thought mistaking the well off for well-being, enough to be them, so some of us thought and thought better of. We had better be better being draft selves than them even if it meant drowning in virtuous poison.
From Jump the Clock: New & Selected Poems by Erica Hunt. Used with the permission of Nightboat Books. Copyright © 2020 by Erica Hunt.