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.