Late Night Poetry #21: Candles in the Night

This poem is inspired by Yusef Komunyakaa’s Reflections, a haunting poem about a tragedy (TW: suicide) and what we see in reflections and mirrors, what they represent. I used some of the images in the poem in a more literal way, but also to highlight a moment of disconnection and connection in lockdown this year.

Photo by Kid Circus, Unsplash

Candles in the Night

after Yusef Komunyakaa

In the bathroom mirror
you see your tired pale face.

Spotlights of sodium yellow
glint on glass and blue tile.

You witness bruised crescents
holding night hostage
under your hooded eyes.

The trees outside whip 
in the cold wind, curling 
shadowed branches
across the ochre ceiling.

It is past midnight.

You want to weep for
the lost sleep, the slip
of time down a running tap.

You look out at the lit windows
across the way: candles in the night.

Like you, awake in haunted hour,
you imagine what they’re thinking—
if the steady light is consolation
in this uncertain isolated living.


This post is part of NanoPoblano, a Cheer Peppers production! If you’d like to see what other people are writing and sharing, please go here.

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