Context is all

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 and Selected Poems (Nightboat Books, 2020). Copyright © 2020 by Erica Hunt. Used with the permission of the poet.