Marlena Raines

“Tell us a love story!” they told me. So I told them ours. 

I. You were bashful when I met you


And you leaned against the doorframe

as we cheered— 


Your name.


I tasted it once—twice

to make sure I got it right

Then the evening closed

and I turned my back




II. Upon my eyes you fall again


Slight droplets in the pond



But rippling water



III. This time

with the meeting 

rings intention

I take the neighboring chair


Your shoulder from a distance

only whispers 

to mine

but I hear.


IV. Fading fast

He flickers

Who toyed my mind before


Air suspends on friendly feathers



                    My past


Rootless flowers—I find more


in your kindness


Slow-hovering eyes

I know not this flutter

in the cage






I do.


V. I toss denial over my shoulder

while leaning over yours.





VI. You cannot hide at a party

when everyone has gone.

The guest list falls

from postered walls

My shoes untied—unworn


Card tricks and music

Coins flipping chance

I stay— 

Take your hands

We learn to dance.


We’re halting

and spinning

I’m laughing

You’re grinning— 


We’re drunk 

on circumstance.


Nothing can mean nothing 

When the music turns slow

Hands on your shoulders

I feel 

you burn below.  



VII. Losing sleep

down limelit streets

Passing signs—they say you’re mine


But I turn my head 

I break things— 

I know.


Endangered time.


But no stories are written

until you’ve been bitten

by a heart overriding the mind.


VIII. So I go find you poring

over books—adoring

the knowing that comes

with time. 


About time.


I remember

The beginning that began

in November. 


IX. November 

is the month of umbrellas


Little islands

of lonely passersby


But we share

You kiss my hair

Cologne mixed with crispest air


“Together” tasting like rain:

purest crystal— 




X. December

turns us gleaming in the ballrooms


Concert halls—I fall

each time I see


you dressed in black,

Midnight dancing

in the gaze you’ve saved

for me. 


But when the sun fizzles out

and the snow sets in

Heads bowed in frigid air


You still glisten

though in mittens


Fractals in your hair. 


XI. January

left me speechless

on canyon’s edge—

King Lear


How chilling to leave a heart spilling

Painting striations

till all appears




How bold.

Those whispered words


They pass through hallowed lips

And over the waves they sail like ships

No fear found in falling

over Dover’d cliffs— 


On winged replies

I soar:


“I love you



XII. February

is when they talk about it

It’s when I think about it too

The sight of our hands

and the warmth of your arms

The taste of your laugh—turning blue

into amber

night into day


Holes in paper so we can always 

see the stars


To greet unknown turns

even though they may burn


We’re not alone

because We are

what we are.


Alina Martel |

Alina Martel is a Trumbull College Class of 2023 graduate and former member of the Yale Daily News. Contact her at