Psalm for People I Hate

Meagan Arthur

September 24, 2022


I imagine my enemies drinking tea and looking
back behind their eyes over hills of tossed sand.
They claim the valley as their own,
reject the bird flying over it;
they walk more slowly beneath that hopeless ridge
and stop to talk to bugs and grasses they meet along their way.
I see them taken over by new buildings and new voices;
they are shaken out of themselves with every step, casting brilliance
over their freshly blurred outlines.
I imagine people I’ve hated looping around,
their hair growing and curling into new shapes, infinite.
My foes are local people now,
rooted to each spot without cracking it,
driving the same cars as the people I love.
They turn their heads only slightly,
and laugh on a porch with good friends about how they used to turn their
faces fully around.
Their meaning widens with every breath,
just like mine.
I can’t imagine that they might not become better —
that they might just be bad forever.
The glue becomes comfortable, and I forget
I’m glued to an extinct nothing.
I’d like to think at the end of the string we take a walk together.
It’s short, and there’s snow,
and we take deep breaths.

Meagan Arthur is a fiction writer and poet from the Seattle area. She graduated with an MFA in Prose from the University of Washington in 2018, where her fiction was awarded the Grace Milliman Pollock Award. Her work has appeared in Cream City Review, Pontoon, Figure 1, the California Quarterly, Hummingbird, and elsewhere. She is currently a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Utah, where she has been awarded the Vice Presidential Fellowship.