When I was young
I was not tempted by the second person
nor the first
I was a third, barely in the picture
unconsciously following the dictum:
be sorted at the top
ninety ninth percentile
perfect grammar
one hundred percent satisfactory
per dollar, there was no cost
without thought
answering questions
solving other people's problems
rage was not a feature of the landscape
neither was the passivity of the voice
I heard embarrassment and desire
for simple time, racing faster
not than anyone else
but to move through More
rather than lonely in a crowd
with insufficient convergence
thus dissatisfaction
paired with Achievement
and Citizenship
pledged allegiance
to my soul
to the future
and with winning and ranking
for those who happen to get them.

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