SPOTLIGHT: <3: Love Poems by Halle Preneta

When I First Walked In

I didn’t notice her
when I first walked in–
her long brown hair
framing the sides of her face
shining in the light of her desk lamp,
her tattoo of a golden spiral on the inside of her arm,
her cowboy boots that click
on the floor when she walks
making her look like a badass,
like she was the leader of some group,
black blazers and confidence
wreathing around her figure.

I didn’t notice her
when I first walked in–
how she won’t wear shoes
when her heels start to hurt her feet.
Manicured toes pressing into the carpet,
the way she sits cross-legged on her desk
as her eyes glow from her phone screen,
the way she has to keep her color pattern on every page:
red, green, and then blue.

I didn’t notice her
when I first walked in.
But when I did–

Parallel Lives

She and I work in silence
in the same room–
her doing homework,
me doing writing.
Never intersecting as
our existences introduce themselves to each other.
I know what it is like to get unwanted questions
from other students.
The “who’s the man in the relationship?”
and “how do dates work?”
But she is used
to students asking her–
“I think my boyfriend is cheating on me,
what should I do?”
and “do you think I should break up with them?”
Our worlds won’t mix
even if I long for them to;
we are parallel lines
living parallel lives,
never crossing
or meeting.


I saw her standing
at the end of the hall,
pencil in hand,
forever beautiful.
All emotions came
racing back to me
in a whirlwind of emotion.

The last time I saw her was before winter break
when she had bewitched me with her curls.
But this time
her brown hair was straight.
It’s the smallest of changes
that I really adore.

Every time I close my eyes,
I see
I pass a room
and hear her voice,
deep and tired.

I start to shake
as thoughts come racing to my head.
She’ll never accept you.
She’ll never accept you.

All I want is to be accepted.
To hold a girl’s hand in public
without feeling like a target,
without feeling eyes watching me
wherever I go, ready to pounce
at any second.
To have openly queer characters
in all my favorite books,

to have the world see me for me,
not as some cheater or partner stealer
out to take everyone’s significant others away from them.
The world would be a safer place for everyone
if we all accepted each other.

I saw her standing there
at the end of the hall.
Would she accept me?
I don’t think I’ll ever know.
With the way she acts,
all smiley and happy
but avoidant of serious questions.

I don’t think I’ll ever know.


One day, a person asked
“How do you know that someone’s gay
if they’ve never dated a woman before?”
My head shot up like a rocket
looking at her.

The noise in the room started increasing
as my heartbeat
out of my chest.

I wanted to know her opinion
but at the same time I would rather
dig a hole beneath me and stay in it til lunchtime.

Was she like everyone else,
with their obnoxious questions and side glances
who act as if I cannot see them?

Who act as if they’re good people
but when it comes down to any social justice issue
they sit there in silence?

Who think they want to make a difference
but everytime someone gets bullied
they cast down their stare and turn away?

The sound in the room kept crescendoing
with every argument someone started.

When she finally said something, I didn’t hear it.

I wanted to know her opinion but I didn’t hear her.

The room just keeps filling with noise, my head pounding
with every passing phrase
that comes out of someone’s lips.

I didn’t hear her even though I wanted to.

What did she say?

For So Long

Before she left for summer break
she sparkled in the sunlight,
her aura radiant around her.
Her brown hair flowed,
her smile twinkled
in the light of the sun.
All things I’ve missed
for so long.

I missed the way she used to sit on desks,
the mesmerizing way
she held her hand
in her back pocket as she spoke.
The way her Ls and Es
swooped in her handwriting.

Without her, I feel shriveled
like a plant
on its way to greet death.
Her energy gave me life,
the sunlight I needed in order to grow.

I have wanted her aura
for so long.


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