When I was little,
An itty bitty child in an itty bitty house,
My mother told me:
“Now don’t you hate.
“Hate is a strong word, a bad word.
“Hate makes people weak.
“Hate drives out love.”
So I tried to never hate anyone –
But not hating is sometimes hard.
And it was a long time before I learned
That not hating someone and loving them
Are two different things;
That withholding my anger
And handing out my love
So all through my life, I’ve tried
Over and over and over again
To not hate:
No, not even my 3rd grade teacher,
Mrs. P, who told me to “Just try harder”
And that “I wasn’t doing enough”
When it came to math and science,
And I never hated my grandparents
For slamming my queer best friend in front of her,
Or my cross-country teammates
For calling me lazy
Because I was the slowest on the team.
No, I never hated those people,
And I never gave them my love.
Because hate is a strong word.
I would never hate another person.
Maybe someday I can also learn
To not hate, even to love,