Poetry by John Di Leonardo – 9/17


( Inspired by Johannes Vermeer’s, “Woman in Blue Reading a Letter”1663.)

When you are gone,
I pace kitchen tiles, roam living room walls
hunger for the stars in your eyes
nibble self pity in the blue flicker of a fridge door.

Among cold things, I whisper your name
in the sweetness of morning jams, evening fruits
and the Atlantic that draws me towards you.

When you are away,
I stalk the cell under cuticle moons
until its notes ring me a moonlight sonata.
I sleepwalk horizons, tip-toe a collage
of love’s smallest details.

Your sunny whispers between parting lips
the twist of wind-blond hair –
and my breadth a little shy
from the lovely depth of your eyes
the delicious tones of a moaning kiss.

When you’re not here,
my pulse stumbles on bleached moonlight
stands thresholds, in a dead man’s embrace
listens to dogs bark at my shadow
and Sirius my favourite star.

In your absence,
let me be your sweetheart, moonflower
the white butterfly in your infinite sleep
the rainbow dreaming our night song, east
to west my love.

When you’re gone,
I puzzle how to say, I miss you, love you,
like a poem in a shoe box, loving against its will.

(Hon. Mention Award, The Bannister Contest Anthology,
Canadian Authors Association, Vol. 30, 2015)


(Inspired by Gerhard Richter’s “Nude on a Staircase,” Oil, 1966.)

Step on step, she’s a moonlit garden
a Calla Lily, stamen and carpel

in innocence she glows
nude with roses on her mind.

I stare beneath the stairs
hold two irises

her hips imprint the swing of light
parting time to let her by.

She pauses on the final step, spilling
mixed emotions into rosewater kisses.

(Hon. Mention Award, The Bannister Contest Anthology,
Canadian Authors Association, Vol. 30, 2015

John Di Leonardo


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.