Giant White Squill

by Marcela Sulak

Drimia maritime, or giant white squill, grows up to a meter tall along the rocky Mediterranean coast. It was used in ancient times to mark borders and boundaries, and as both a poison and a remedy.

Dear great white squill in my little life, how your delight

is always predicated on the death impulses of this world. Your practice


of planting heavy feet, which we can see in the movement

of your lightly scented wrists:


in such a world, it is simplicity itself to be beautiful.

I want to articulate


you when I awake, before I go to sleep, with my mouth

and fingertips and thumb,


with photos and memory and future tense

and all the tension in me. And all your pressure points. This is how you crack


the earth to thrust yourself up, to rise, to my ribs

and to my chin, past my head and past my up-stretched arms. How


you frame the decay of the city’s electrical plant, how the power

and how the corrugated tin that blocks the little boats


from drifting much beyond their strength, into the violent engines.

How you frame the air fields and the honey bees, how the green


dragonfly hovers over you, moving its transparent wings,

and over us all, helicopters come in for their landings.


Dear squill, Maya gave me a blue vase shaped like your root,

and, open mouthed, I too remain full of your absence all day long.


How I love these borders, membranes, points, lines, wind blurs,

aforementioned wings. And all that stitches them


to their nearnesses and distance,

and tears them out again, as you do.