National Poetry Month Day 6: Yanyi






There is no majestic horn that sounds
the end of battle. There is no majesty
in battle. Only knowing, abruptly, as if
a curtain’s been drawn, the actors
are not coming back to life. Knuckles
swollen and out of proportion. Giving in
to how it must go on—our arms shuffling
out the bodies, the tightness of our hips
and knees carrying the blood away from
the ground so useless to the vessels now.
I remember sitting by the window of my last
place, trying to understand. Not believing
it was over. Hating always being told
about who I was and being hated
for being the one told. As usual I was
the last to know not because I was stupid,
but because of what I wanted to exist. 



Author photo courtesy of author

Yanyi is the author of Dream of the Divided Field (One World) 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, Granta, and New England Review, 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 and was most recently poetry editor at Foundry. Currently, he teaches creative writing at large and gives writing advice at The Reading. More from this author →