That leaf from a foreign maple you picked up,
carried, and airmailed back to me desiccates
now in its cream envelope. Stowed blood drop,
dross, remnant, replica, relic, memento, avatar,
talisman, the thing itself not as it once was—flat,
shiny—even my memory of its essence altered.
Each stringy fiber, doubled rib, stalky petiole
released by transmutation at last wings, wafts,
wheels like paper in the loose weave of the air.