Late Light

Counting (on New Year's)

Scott Prior, Bedroom in Winter

The day is dark but very long.
You write me while I sleep, then go to bed.
The bed against a cold, plain frost;
the frost lacing the window overhead.

And dark has brought a fever to my head.
Your neighbors laugh. With drooling candles
and tines of jam, the darkest day has only passed: I fear I will not waken as I am.

Of losing light, I’ll remember what I can.
Your glowing window flashes, turns, and
I’ll gain in one long glance
something burning? Or a shiver turned to dance.

What I know, I’ll write to you.
The day is dark but very long.

Yanyi Yanyi is the author of Dream of the Divided Field (One World 2022) and The Year of Blue Water (Yale University Press 2019), winner of the 2018 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. His work has been featured in or at NPR’s All Things Considered, New York Public Library, Tin House, Granta, and A Public Space, and he is the recipient of fellowships from Asian American Writers’ Workshop and Poets House. He holds an MFA in Poetry from New York University. He was most recently poetry editor at Foundry. Currently, he teaches creative writing at large and gives creative advice at The Reading.