I hate being hated even though I 
provoke it, not by committing major wrongs 
like murder, more like a regular 
pattern of being selfish or forgetful, 
which is another word for selfish. 
If you hate me, trust me I know—
in fact, I have a ledger of people, like you, 
who hate me, and I rifle through it every 
morning obsessing over the names more 
than they think about mine—a passing 
thought, a microsecond of dislike or worse, 
indifference like the Godzilla rays of fire 
I feel buzz out of your eyes when 
you scroll past my pictures on Instagram. 
I should focus on the people who love me,
every therapist I ever had has told me so, 
but I don’t need them to love me more, 
so that’s pointless. If we hate each other, 
I assure you my hate has a trace of love 
with a dash of hope. It’s the throbbing 
contradiction of hate’s dark thrall. 

Copyright © 2023 by Carmen Giménez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 8, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.