My Teacher

My Teacher

Joneve McCormick

for Minoru Kawabata

He taught painting in Manhattan,
a wisp of a man, almost transparent,
who knew the world was within himself
and that what he intended came about,
but didn't seem to know
or care that he was famous.

He showed us what is possible,
finding the seeds of what worked
on each student's canvas
and ways to coax forth their powers;
in his care, we grew as artists.

Beyond wisdom, missing nothing,
he found exact gestures and words
to calm the space and lift our spirits.
Though he spoke little English,
he touched our hearts with such elegance
that we outdid ourselves.