Allium canadense. Allium validum. Wild and smelly one,
little sister of stinks. Broken, rubbed between two fingers
you linger like nostalgia, regret, grief. You grow anywhere,
a garden, a pavement’s crack, a verge beside the road.
In abused soil, acidic, starved, your white heart waits, white
as loneliness — the first thing, Milton says, which God’s eye
named not good. Kha-a-mot-ot-ke-wat, the one who seeks
a poorer soil, your heart-bulb sunk deep beneath the sod.
Weed. No blade can cut you out. You are reborn each spring,
green tongues from black earth. The Egyptians buried onions
with their dead, a circle within circles. Lonely, lonely, lonely
is every layer around the heart. And I — each year more
lonely — will break your culms and rub my brow with your oil.
I’ll chew your white heart for cure. If that is no remedy,
I’ll lie beside your white flowers and sleep, my wild sister,
rhizome, root, my invasive, unstoppable loneliness.