Poor Man's Diamond

I'd go out, see Agnieszka behind
the splintered greyness of the wind,
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.

—Leo Yankevich

Leo Yankevich’s poetry has appeared in scores of magazines on both sides of the Atlantic, among humbler titles in American Jones, ArtWord Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Cedar Hill Review, Chronicles, Envoi, The MacGuffin, Poetry Notingham, Staple, Sulphur River Literary Review, The Tennessee Review, Visions International, and The Windsor Review. He lives with his wife and three sons in Gliwice, Poland, where he works as a translator and serves as the poetry editor for The New Formalist (thenewformalist.com)