Julie Sheehan reads

Hate Poem

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Editor’s note: Julie Sheehan tells “The Story Behind the Hate” in the 
ongoing Poems Out Loud Behind-the-Poem series.  Want to hear Julie 
Sheehan read another poem or see more of her work? Listen to 
“Interruption by Singapore Sling” or “Brandy Stinger,” or check out her 
new book Bar Book: Poems and Otherwise. And, while you’re here, why 
not subscribe to Poems Out Loud if you enjoy poetry?

*     *     *

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.