By six years of age,
one ought to know some basic lessons,
like, “Not a peep ‘til the teacher calls
on your raised hand.”

I knew this lesson.
Berez did not.

There are other things that, by six years of age,
you needn’t know at all,
like multiplication sets.

These, of course,
Berez did know.

I did not like this new kid in school
with his too-fast lips that blurted answers
that my faster hand knew the answers to as well.

That slow
with her slower calling skills.

“Rules were meant to be followed,” I thought,
“Or it isn’t fair to the obedient,”
trapped traveling at 25
while the flashing cars go speeding by.”

Of course, Berez wasn’t oh-so bad,
when we broke the rules on the playground together-

playing tag on the swings where speed
was irrelevant, tag-backs were fair,

and I sat, touching again and again,
his raised, extended hands.

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