The Thin Line

In a post a few months ago I mentioned Joanna Klink’s claim that there’s not a strong tradition of hate poetry. Here’s a funny, warm, nominal attempt from Julie Sheehan to prove an exception to the rule, which evolves (inevitably?) into something more complex than good clean angry fun.

Hate Poem

Julie Sheehan

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 by 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.

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