Columbus Park

By Anne Pierson Wiese b. 1964
Down at the end of Baxter Street, where Five Points   
slum used to be, just north of Tombs, is a pocket park.   
On these summer days the green plane trees’ leaves   
linger heavy as a noon mist above   
the men playing mah jongg—more Chinese   
in the air than English.  The city’s composed   
of village greens; we rely on the Thai   
place on the corner: Tom Kha for a cold,   
jasmine tea for fever, squid for love, Duck Yum   
for loneliness.  Outside, the grove of heat,   
narrow streets where people wrestle rash and unseen   
angels; inside, the coolness of a glen and the wait staff   
in their pale blue collars offering ice water.   
Whatever you’ve done or undone, there’s a dish for you   
to take out or eat in: spice for courage, sweet for chagrin.   

Poem copyright © 2003 by Anne Pierson Wiese. Reprinted from Floating City, by Anne Pierson Wiese, published by Louisiana State University Press, 2007, with the permission of the author and publisher. Poem first published in West Branch.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Anne Pierson Wiese b. 1964

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Activities, Eating & Drinking, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Poet, author, and playwright Anne Wiese grew up in Brooklyn. A graduate of Amherst College and the New York University Graduate Writing Workshop, Wiese’s first collection of poems, Floating City (2007), was selected by Kay Ryan for a Walt Whitman Award in 2006. In her judge’s citation, Ryan noted, “Wiese’s poems read so easily and pleasurably that one hardly realizes one has been confidently moved to a slightly different . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Anne Pierson Wiese

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Eating & Drinking, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.