Sharp Shadows


This poem appears originally in Which Way Was North, published by Louisiana State University Press. Poet Anne Pierson Wiese will be a guest at Amherst College’s LitFest 2024. Register for this exciting celebration of Amherst’s literary legacy and life.

On our kitchen wall at a certain time
of year appeared what we called the sharp
shadows. A slant of western light found
its way through the brown moult of fire
escape hanging on to our Brooklyn rental
building for dear life and etched replicas
of everything in its path—each bubble
and flaw in the blue glass, the blade
of every knife on the rack, the fine
hairs standing along the back of my arm.

I can’t remember which month, out of twelve,
they came, only that we were stunned fresh
every year to stumble upon such undying
perfection in our kitchen—or anywhere—
lives being dreams with the edges mostly blurred.


Anne Pierson Wiese‘s first poetry collection, Floating City (Louisiana State University Press) received the Academy of American Poets Walt Whitman Award. Her second collection, Which Way Was North, was released in September 2023 (Louisiana State University Press). She has received the Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Scholarship, fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the South Dakota Arts Council, and a Discovery/The Nation Poetry Prize. After an eight-year adventure in South Dakota, she and her husband, writer Ben Miller, have recently returned to live in New York City once again.  

Sharp Shadows

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