To his two-fingered gun
to his head
we blow open palm kisses
roll up the window
watch eyes blink wide
ignore the stop sign keep
driving neighbour-hood style
(Hon. Mention Award, The Best Short Verse Canadian Anthology, 2014)
(Inspired by Hall Groat’s painting “Fedora Vintage Hat” Oil)
With the bell I dismiss my class.
The quiet one, Ben Suk Lee
who sits third row down, hovers
at my desk when all elbows
stampede to lunch out the door
gives a polite bow, almost
in need of forgiveness for bending
the ground rules of our class
in his new land of opportunity.
With careful, slow, spaced,
broken English he pulls out his gift
from a worn Wal-Mart plastic bag,
a smart-brown small-brim Fedora.
A token of appreciation,
a weeks savings from his part-time
job in the family 7/11 corner store.
he bows, softly mouthing,
Teacher Day, in Korea, gift for you,
to thank my Sensei.
I return the bow, read pride
sincerity in his eyes.
He leaves me standing there
feeling my thirty years in education.
(Third Place Award, Verse Afire, TOPS Contest, 2012)
John Di Leonardo is a Canadian visual artist/poet, past president of The Brooklin Poetry Society, editor of Verse Afire. He is also an Associate Member of The League of Canadian Poets, and a member of the Canadian Authors Association. He has published two award winning chapbooks Book of Hours (2014), Starry Nights (2015), and is the recipient of the 2017 Ted Plantos Memorial Award. His poetry has appeared in over thirty poetry anthologies, and in Canadian poetry journals such as The Banister, Verse Afire, and Tower Poetry. He writes and paints in Brooklin, Ontario. You can visit him at johndileonardo.ca.