“Hate Poem” by Julie Sheehan
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
I hate you truly. Truly I do. Everything about me hates everything about you. The flick of my wrist hates you. The way I hold my pencil hates you. The sound made by my tiniest bones were they trapped in the jaws of a moray eel hates you. Each corpuscle singing in its capillary hates you. Look out! Fore! I hate you. The blue-green jewel of sock lint I’m digging from under my third toenail, left foot, hates you. The history of this keychain hates you. My sigh in the background as you explain relational databases hates you. The goldfish of my genius hates you. My aorta hates you. Also my ancestors. A closed window is both a closed window and an obvious symbol of how I hate you. My voice curt as a hairshirt: hate. My hesitation when you invite me for a drive: hate. My pleasant “good morning”: hate. You know how when I’m sleepy I nuzzle my head under your arm? Hate. The whites of my target-eyes articulate hate. My wit practices it. My breasts relaxing in their holster from morning to night hate you. Layers of hate, a parfait. Hours after our latest row, brandishing the sharp glee of hate, I dissect you cell by cell, so that I might hate each one individually and at leisure. My lungs, duplicitous twins, expand with the utter validity of my hate, which can never have enough of you, Breathlessly, like two idealists in a broken submarine.
from PLEIADES, vol. 24:2
Central Missouri State Press
Copyright Julie Sheehan.
All rights reserved.
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About the Poet
Julie Sheehan was born and raised in Pierson, Iowa. She received a BA from Yale University and an MFA in poetry from Columbia University. is the author of three poetry books, including Bar Book: Poems and Otherwise (W. W. Norton, 2010).
Learn more about Julie Sheehan at The Poetry Foundation.