Love Poem for an Enemy

By Richard Katrovas b. 1953 Richard Katrovas
I, as sinned against as sinning,
take small pleasure from the winning
of our decades-long guerrilla war.
For from my job I've wanted more
than victory over one who'd tried
to punish me before he died,
and now, neither of us dead,
we haunt these halls in constant dread
of drifting past the other's life
while long-term memory is rife
with slights that sting like paper cuts.
We've occupied our separate ruts
yet simmered in a single rage.
We've grown absurd in middle age
together, and should seek wisdom now
together, by ending this row.
I therefore decommission you
as constant flagship of my rue.
Below the threshold of my hate
you now my good regard may rate.
For I have let my anger pass.
But, while you're down there, kiss my ass.

Source: Poetry (February 2001).


This poem originally appeared in the February 2001 issue of Poetry magazine

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February 2001


Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Katrovas spent his earliest years traveling with his family while his father, a con man, attempted to evade arrest. Katrovas was adopted by relatives as a teenager and lived in Japan for three years before moving to California. He earned a BA from San Diego State University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. As he stated in a 2007 interview, “My response to the chaos of my childhood has been . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Living, Friends & Enemies, Midlife, Humor & Satire, War & Conflict, Arts & Sciences, Relationships

POET’S REGION Eastern Europe

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