Poem by Halle Preneta — 5/7/23
Response to “Dear Straight People” by Denice Frohman
because all we can see is a hatred towards us.
This disconnect between a life this world wants us to have
and the life we envision ourselves to be.
And that disconnect can be very frustrating
when you talk about your husband and I sit there with glossed over eyes
because I cannot reach out and touch it like I can with queer relationships and stories.
It feels like there’s this wall between us that I want to tear down
but I can’t
and I just end up sitting there with prickling skin,
fidgeting with my nails,
trying to reach for something within me that does not exist.
I am queer.
I listen to dodie and Sammy Rae and The Friends.
I write poems about loving women.
I read predominantly queer romance stories.
I have many queer friends and know many queer people
who inspire me so much every day.
I am queer.
But I still listen to Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’ album.
I still read straight stories, even as I search for any tiny sliver of queerness within them
no matter how straight as a ruler they are.
I still love straight people
because even though your love may be applied to only your opposite gender,
you are all still so beautiful.
I once spent four months observing this older couple who have known each other
probably longer than I have been alive
and as we jumped from art museum to art museum, city to city, country to country together,
I saw love open up like a tulip in spring.
I saw glitter in eyes at every glance.
I saw gentle hands, sitting in corners away from the action,
holding each other, saying “it will all be okay.”
I saw the amount of respect that could live within two people.
It was the first time I had ever, in my entire 19 years of life (at the time),
seen a man truly respect a woman.
I learned what it meant to respect that semester.
And even though I am convinced I will never understand men
or how women can love them,
I have learned that it is possible to have men out there in this world
who do not hate me.
Who do not want to kill me or hurt me or control me.
Who have the ability to love just as much, if not more, than I do.