red maple leaves so close I’d touch
them in their resurrected flights.
I’d lug a hard-on in my pocket,
or chunk of looking-glass bright coal,
pretend it was a genuine diamond
and offer it on a dime-store string.
Love had turned me into alchemist.
But a woman with ambition,
she gave it back to keep me warm,
heat from her fingers like a furnace
twenty calendar years later
whenever I shave or comb grey.

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