Milk and Honey

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#1 New York Times bestseller Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.

The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. Milk and Honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

how is it so easy for you
to be kind to people
he asked

milk and honey dripped
from my lips as i answered

cause people have not
been kind to me

the first boy that kissed me
held my shoulders down
like the handlebars of
the first bicycle
he ever rode
i was five

he had the smell of
starvation on his lips
which he picked up from
his father feasting on his mother at 4 a.m.

he was the first boy
to teach me my body was
for giving to those that wanted
that i should feel anything
less than whole

and my god
did i feel as empty
as his mother at 4:25 a.m.
it is your blood
in my veins
tell me how i’m
supposed to forget
the therapist places

the doll in front of you
it is the size of girls
your uncles like touching

point to where his hands were

you point to the spot
between its legs the one
he fingered out of you
like a confession

how’re you feeling

you pull the lump
in your throat out
with your teeth
and say fine
numb really

– midweek sessions

he was supposed to be
the first male love of your life
you still search for him

– father

you were so afraid
of my voice
i decided to be
afraid of it too

she was a rose
in the hands of those
who had no intention
of keeping her

every time you
tell your daughter
you yell at her
out of love
you teach her to confuse
anger with kindness
which seems like a good idea
till she grows up to
trust men who hurt her
cause they look so much
like you

– to fathers with daughters

i’ve had sex she said
but i don’t know
what making love
feels like

if i knew what
safety looked like
i would have spent
less time falling into
arms that were not

sex takes the consent of two
if one person is lying there not doing anything
cause they are not ready
or not in the mood
or simply don’t want to
yet the other is having sex
with their body it’s not love
it is rape

the idea that we are
so capable of love
but still choose
to be toxic

there is no bigger illusion in the world
than the idea that a woman will
bring dishonor into a home
if she tries to keep her heart
and her body safe


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Rupi Kaur