Utama Milk and Honey

Milk and Honey

'milk and honey' is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split 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.
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the arms

that hold me

my heart woke me crying last night

how can i help i begged

my heart said

write the book


the hurting

the loving

the breaking

the healing

a letter

about the writer

about the book

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

you pinned

my legs to

the ground

with your feet

and demanded

i stand up

the rape will

tear you

in half

but it

will not

end you

you have sadness

living in places

sadness shouldn’t live

a daughter should

not have to

beg her father

for a relationship

trying to convince myself

i am allowed

to take up space

is like writing with

my left hand

when i was born

to use my right

- the idea of shrinking is hereditary

you tell me to quiet down cause

my opinions make me less beautiful

but i was not made with a fire in my belly

so i could be put out

i was not made with a lightness on my tongue

so i could be easy to swallow

i was made heavy

half blade and half silk

difficult to forget and not easy

for the mind to follow

he guts her

with his fingers

like he’s scraping

the inside of a

cantaloupe clean

your mother

is in the habit of

offering more love

than you can carry

your father is absent

you are a war

the border between two countries

the collateral damage

the paradox that joins the two

but also splits them apart

emptying out of my mother’s belly

was my first act of disappearance

learning to shrink for a family

who likes their daughters invisible

was the second

the art of being empty

is simple

believe them when they say

you are nothing

repeat it to yourself

like a wish

i am nothing

i am nothing

i am nothing

so often

the only reason you know

you’re still alive is from the

heaving of your chest

- the art of being empty

you look just like your mother

i guess i do carry her tenderness well

you both have the same eyes

cause we are both exhausted

and the hands

we share the same wilting fingers

but that rage your mother doesn’t wear that anger

you’re right

this rage is the one thing

i get from my father

(homage to warsan shire’s inheritance)

when my mother opens her mouth

to have a conversation at dinner

my father shoves the word hush

between her lips and tells her to

never speak with her mouth full

this is how the women in my family

learned to live with their mouths closed

our knees

pried open

by cousins

and uncles

and men

our bodies touched

by all the wrong people

that even in a bed full of safety

we are afraid

father. you always call to say nothing in particular. you ask what i’m doing or where i am and when the silence stretches like a lifetime between us i scramble to find questions to keep the conversation going. what i long to say most is. i understand this world broke you. it has been so hard on your feet. i don’t blame you for not knowing how to remain soft with me. sometimes i stay up thinking of all the places you are hurting which you’ll never care to mention. i come from the same aching blood. from the same bone so desperate for attention i collapse in on myself. i am your daughter. i know the small talk is the only way you know how to tell me you love me. cause it is the only way i know how to tell you.

you plough into me with two fingers and i am mostly shocked. it feels like rubber against an open wound. i do not like it. you begin pushing faster and faster. but i feel nothing. you search my face for a reaction so i begin acting like the naked women in the videos you watch when you think no one’s looking. i imitate their moans. hollow and hungry. you ask if it feels good and i say yes so quickly it sounds rehearsed. but the acting. you do not notice.

i can’t tell if my mother is

terrified or in love with

my father it all

looks the same

i flinch when you touch me

i fear it is him

when my mother was pregnant

with her second child i was four

i pointed at her swollen belly confused at how

my mother had gotten so big in such little time

my father scooped me in his tree trunk arms and

said the closest thing to god on this earth

is a woman’s body it’s where life comes from

and to have a grown man tell me something

so powerful at such a young age

changed me to see the entire universe

rested at my mother’s feet

i struggle so deeply

to understand

how someone can

pour their entire soul

blood and energy

into someone

without wanting

anything in


- i will have to wait till i’m a mother


it won’t

be love at

first sight when

we meet it’ll be love

at first remembrance cause

i’ve seen you in my mother’s eyes

when she tells me to marry the type

of man i’d want to raise my son to be like

every revolution

starts and ends

with his lips

what am i to you he asks

i put my hands in his lap

and whisper you

are every hope

i’ve ever had

in human form

my favorite thing about you is your smell

you smell like




a little more

human than the rest of us

i know i

should crumble

for better reasons

but have you seen

that boy he brings

the sun to its

knees every


you are the faint line

between faith and

blindly waiting

- letter to my future lover

nothing is safer

than the sound of you

reading out loud to me

- the perfect date

he placed his hands

on my mind

before reaching

for my waist

my hips

or my lips

he didn’t call me

beautiful first

he called me


- how he touches me

i am learning

how to love him

by loving myself

he says

i am sorry i am not an easy person to want

i look at him surprised

who said i wanted easy

i don’t crave easy

i crave goddamn difficult

the very thought of you

has my legs spread apart

like an easel with a canvas

begging for art

i am ready for you

i have always


ready for you

- the first time

i do not want to have you

to fill the empty parts of me

i want to be full on my own

i want to be so complete

i could light a whole city

and then

i want to have you

cause the two of us combined

could set it on fire

love will come

and when love comes

love will hold you

love will call your name

and you will melt

sometimes though

love will hurt you but

love will never mean to

love will play no games

cause love knows life

has been hard enough already

i’d be lying if i said

you make me speechless

the truth is you make my

tongue so weak it forgets

what language to speak in

he asks me what i do

i tell him i work for a small company

that makes packaging for—

he stops me midsentence

no not what you do to pay the bills

what drives you crazy

what keeps you up at night

i tell him i write

he asks me to show him something

i take the tips of my fingers

place them inside his forearm

and graze them down his wrist

goose bumps rise to the surface

i see his mouth clench

muscles tighten

his eyes pore into mine

as though i’m the reason

for making them blink

i break gaze just as

he inches toward me

i step back

so that’s what you do

you command attention

my cheeks flush as

i smile shyly


i can’t help it

you might not have been my first love

but you were the love that made

all the other loves


you’ve touched me

without even

touching me

how do you turn

a forest fire like me

so soft i turn into

running water

you look like you smell of

honey and no pain

let me have a taste of that

your name is

the strongest

positive and negative

connotation in any language

it either lights me up or

leaves me aching for days

you talk too much

he whispers into my ear

i can think of better ways to use that mouth

it’s your voice

that undresses me

my name sounds so good

french kissing your tongue

you wrap your fingers

around my hair

and pull


is how you make

music out of me

- foreplay

on days

like this

i need you to

run your fingers

through my hair

and speak softly

- you

i want your hands

to hold

not my hands

your lips

to kiss

not my lips

but other places

i need someone

who knows struggle

as well as i do


willing to hold my feet in their lap

on days it is too difficult to stand

the type of person who gives

exactly what i need

before i even know i need it

the type of lover who hears me

even when i do not speak

is the type of understanding

i demand

- the type of lover i need

you move my hand

between my legs

and whisper

make those pretty little fingers dance for me

- solo performance

we’ve been arguing more than we ought to. about things neither of us remember or care about cause that’s how we avoid the bigger questions. instead of asking why we don’t say i love you to one another as often as we used to. we fight about things like: who was supposed to get up and turn the lights off first. or who was supposed to pop the frozen pizza in the oven after work. taking hits at the most vulnerable parts of one another. we’re like fingers on thorns honey. we know exactly where it hurts.

and everything is on the table tonight. like that one time you whispered a name i’m pretty sure wasn’t mine in your sleep. or last week when you said you were working late. so i called work but they said you’d already left a couple hours ago. where were you for those couple hours.

i know. i know. your excuses make all the sense in the world. and i get a little carried away for no good reason and eventually begin crying. but what else do you expect baby. i love you so much. i’m sorry i thought you were lying.

that’s when you hold your head with your hands in frustration. half begging me to stop. half tired and sick of it. the toxin in our mouths has burnt holes in our cheeks. we look less alive than we used to. less color in our faces. but don’t kid yourself. no matter how bad it gets we both know you still wanna nail me to the ground.

especially when i’m screaming so loud our fighting wakes the neighbors. and they come running to the door to save us. baby don’t open it.

instead. lie me down. lay me open like a map. and with your finger trace the places you still want to **** out of me. kiss me like i am the center point of gravity and you are falling into me like my soul is the focal point of yours. and when your mouth is kissing not my mouth but other places. my legs will split apart out of habit. and that’s when. i pull you in. welcome you. home.

when the entire street is looking out their windows wondering what all the commotion is. and the fire trucks come rolling in to save us but they can’t distinguish whether these flames began with our anger or our passion. i will smile. throw my head back. arch my body like a mountain you want to split in half. baby lick me.

like your mouth has the gift of reading and i’m your favorite book. find your favorite page in the soft spot between my legs and read it carefully. fluently. vividly. don’t you dare leave a single word untouched. and i swear my ending will be so good. the last few words will come. running to your mouth. and when you’re done. take a seat. cause it’s my turn to make music with my knees pressed to the ground.

sweet baby. this. is how we pull language out of one another with the flick of our tongues. this is how we have the conversation. this. is how we make up.

- how we make up

when my mother says i deserve better

i snap to your defense out of habit

he still loves me i shout

she looks at me with defeated eyes

the way a parent looks at their child

when they know this is the type of pain

even they can’t fix

and says

it means nothing to me if he loves you

if he can’t do a single wretched thing about it

you were so distant

i forgot you were there at all

you said. if it is meant to be. fate will bring us back together. for a second i wonder if you are really that naive. if you really believe fate works like that. as if it lives in the sky staring down at us. as if it has five fingers and spends its time placing us like pieces of chess. as if it is not the choices we make. who taught you that. tell me. who convinced you. you’ve been given a heart and a mind that isn’t yours to use. that your actions do not define what will become of you. i want to scream and shout it’s us you fool. we’re the only ones that can bring us back together. but instead i sit quietly. smiling softly through quivering lips thinking. isn’t it such a tragic thing. when you can see it so clearly but the other person doesn’t.

don’t mistake

salt for sugar

if he wants to

be with you

he will

it’s that simple

he only whispers i love you

as he slips his hands

down the waistband

of your pants

this is where you must

understand the difference

between want and need

you may want that boy

but you certainly

don’t need him

you were temptingly beautiful

but stung when i got close

the woman who comes after me will be a bootleg version of who i am. she will try and write poems for you to erase the ones i’ve left memorized on your lips but her lines could never punch you in the stomach the way mine did. she will then try to make love to your body. but she will never lick, caress, or suck like me. she will be a sad replacement of the woman you let slip. nothing she does will excite you and this will break her. when she is tired of falling apart for a man that doesn’t give back what he takes she will recognize me in your eyelids staring at her with pity and it’ll hit her. how can she love a man who is busy loving someone he can never get his hands on again.

the next time you

have your coffee black

you’ll taste the bitter

state he left you in

it will make you weep

but you’ll never

stop drinking

you’d rather have the

darkest parts of him

than have nothing

more than anything

i want to save you

from myself

you have spent enough nights

with his manhood curled inside your legs

to forget what loneliness feels like

you whisper

i love you

what you mean is

i don’t want you to leave

that’s the

thing about love

it marinates your lips

till the only word your

mouth remembers

is his name

it must hurt to know

i am your most



i didn’t leave because

i stopped loving you

i left because the longer

i stayed the less

i loved myself

you mustn’t have to

make them want you

they must want you themselves

did you think i was a city

big enough for a weekend getaway

i am the town surrounding it

the one you’ve never heard of

but always pass through

there are no neon lights here

no skyscrapers or statues

but there is thunder

for i make bridges tremble

i am not street meat i am homemade jam

thick enough to cut the sweetest

thing your lips will touch

i am not police sirens

i am the crackle of a fireplace

i’d burn you and you still

couldn’t take your eyes off me

cause i’d look so beautiful doing it

you’d blush

i am not a hotel room i am home

i am not the whiskey you want

i am the water you need

don’t come here with expectations

and try to make a vacation out of me

the one who arrives after you

will remind me love is

supposed to be soft

he will taste

like the poetry

i wish i could write


he can’t help but

degrade other women

when they’re not looking

if toxicity is central

to his language

he could hold you

in his lap and be soft


that man could feed you sugar and

douse you in rose water

but that still could not

make him sweet

- if you want to know the type of man he is

i am a museum full of art

but you had your eyes shut

you must have known

you were wrong

when your fingers

were dipped inside me

searching for honey that

would not come for you

the thing

worth holding on to

would not have let go

when you are broken

and he has left you

do not question

whether you were


the problem was

you were so enough

he was not able to carry it

love made the danger

in you look like safety

even when you undress her

you are searching for me

i am sorry i

taste so good

when the two of you

make love it is

still my name

that rolls off your

tongue accidently

you treat them like they

have a heart like yours

but not everyone can be as

soft and as tender

you don’t see the

person they are

you see the person

they have the potential to be

you give and give till

they pull everything out of you

and leave you empty

i had to leave

i was tired of

allowing you to

make me feel

anything less

than whole

you were the most beautiful thing i’d ever felt till now. and i was convinced you’d remain the most beautiful thing i’d ever feel. do you know how limiting that is. to think at such a ripe young age i’d experienced the most exhilarating person i’d ever meet. how i’d spend the rest of my life just settling. to think i’d tasted the rawest form of honey and everything else would be refined and synthetic. that nothing beyond this point would add up. that all the years beyond me could not combine themselves to be sweeter than you.

- falsehood

i don’t know what living a balanced life feels like

when i am sad

i don’t cry i pour

when i am happy

i don’t smile i glow

when i am angry

i don’t yell i burn

the good thing about feeling in extremes is

when i love i give them wings

but perhaps that isn’t

such a good thing cause

they always tend to leave

and you should see me

when my heart is broken

i don’t grieve

i shatter

i came all this way

to give you all these things

but you aren’t even looking

the abused

and the


- i have been both

i am undoing you

from my skin

it wasn’t you i was kissing

— don’t be mistaken

it was him on my mind

your lips were just convenient

it always comes back to you




its way back to you

i was music

but you had your ears cut off

my tongue is sour

from the hunger of

missing you

i will not have you

build me into your life


what i want is to

build a life with you

- the difference

rivers fall from my mouth

tears my eyes can’t carry

you are snakeskin

and i keep shedding you somehow

my mind is forgetting

every exquisite detail

of your face

the letting go has

become the forgetting

which is the most

pleasant and saddest thing

to have happened

you were not wrong for leaving

you were wrong for coming back

and thinking

you could have me

when it was convenient

and leave when it was not

how can i write

if he took my hands

with him

neither of us is happy

but neither of us wants to leave

so we keep breaking one another

and calling it love

we began

with honesty

let us end

in it too

- us

your voice


drives me

to tears

i don’t know why

i split myself open

for others knowing

sewing myself up

hurts this much


people go

but how

they left

always stays

love is not cruel

we are cruel

love is not a game

we have made a game

out of love

how can our love die

if it’s written

in these pages

even after the hurt

the loss

the pain

the breaking

your body is still

the only one

i want to be

undressed under

the night after you left

i woke up so broken

the only place to put the pieces

were the bags under my eyes


i whispered

as you

shut the door behind you

i am confident i am over you. so much that some mornings i wake up with a smile on my face and my hands pressed together thanking the universe for pulling you out of me. thank god i cry. thank god you left. i would not be the empire i am today if you had stayed.

but then.

there are some nights i imagine what i might do if you showed up. how if you walked into the room this very second every awful thing you’ve ever done would be tossed out the closest window and all the love would rise up again. it would pour through my eyes as if it never really left in the first place. as if it’s been practicing how to stay silent so long only so it could be this loud on your arrival. can someone explain that. how even when the love leaves. it doesn’t leave. how even when i am so past you. i am so helplessly brought back to you.

he isn’t coming back

whispered my head

he has to

sobbed my heart

- wilting

i don’t want to be friends

i want all of you

- more

i am losing parts of you like i lose eyelashes

unknowingly and everywhere

you cannot leave

and have me too

i cannot exist in

two places at once

- when you ask if we can still be friends

i am water

soft enough

to offer life

tough enough

to drown it away

what i miss most is how you loved me. but what i didn’t know was how you loved me had so much to do with the person i was. it was a reflection of everything i gave to you. coming back to me. how did i not see that. how. did i sit here soaking in the idea that no one else would love me that way. when it was i that taught you. when it was i that showed you how to fill. the way i needed to be filled. how cruel i was to myself. giving you credit for my warmth simply because you had felt it. thinking it was you who gave me strength. wit. beauty. simply because you recognized it. as if i was already not these things before i met you. as if i did not remain all these once you left.

you leave

but you don’t stay gone

why do you do that

why do you

abandon the thing you want to keep

why do you linger

in a place you do not want to stay

why do you think it’s okay to do both

go and return all at once

i will tell you about selfish people. even when they know they will hurt you they walk into your life to taste you because you are the type of being they don’t want to miss out on. you are too much shine to not be felt. so when they have gotten a good look at everything you have to offer. when they have taken your skin your hair your secrets with them. when they realize how real this is. how much of a storm you are and it hits them.

that is when the cowardice sets in. that is when the person you thought they were is replaced by the sad reality of what they are. that is when they lose every fighting bone in their body and leave after saying you will find better than me.

you will stand there naked with half of them still hidden somewhere inside you and sob. asking them why they did it. why they forced you to love them when they had no intention of loving you back and they’ll say something along the lines of i just had to try. i had to give it a chance. it was you after all.

but that isn’t romantic. it isn’t sweet. the idea that they were so engulfed by your existence they had to risk breaking it for the sake of knowing they weren’t the one missing out. your existence meant that little next to their curiosity of you.

that is the thing about selfish people. they gamble entire beings. entire souls to please their own. one second they are holding you like the world in their lap and the next they have belittled you to a mere picture. a moment. something of the past. one second. they swallow you up and whisper they want to spend the rest of their life with you. but the moment they sense fear. they are already halfway out the door. without having the nerve to let you go with grace. as if the human heart means that little to them.

and after all this. after all of the taking. the nerve. isn’t it sad and funny how people have more guts these days to undress you with their fingers than they do to pick up the phone and call. apologize. for the loss. and this is how you lose her.

- selfish

to do list (after the breakup):

1. take refuge in your bed.

2. cry. till the tears stop (this will take a few days).

3. don’t listen to slow songs.

4. delete their number from your phone even though it is memorized on your fingertips.

5. don’t look at old photos.

6. find the closest ice cream shop and treat yourself to two scoops of mint chocolate chip. the mint will calm your heart. you deserve the chocolate.

7. buy new bed sheets.

8. collect all the gifts, t-shirts, and everything with their smell on it and drop it off at a donation center.

9. plan a trip.

10. perfect the art of smiling and nodding when someone brings their name up in conversation.

11. start a new project.

12. whatever you do. do not call.

13. do not beg for what does not want to stay.

14. stop crying at some point.

15. allow yourself to feel foolish for believing you could’ve built the rest of your life in someone else’s stomach.

16. breathe.

the way they


tells you



i don’t deserve

nice things

cause i am paying

for sins i don’t


the thing about writing is

i can’t tell if it’s healing

or destroying me

do not bother holding on to

that thing that does not want you

- you cannot make it stay

you must enter a relationship

with yourself

before anyone else

accept that you deserve more

than painful love

life is moving

the healthiest thing

for your heart is

to move with it

it is a part of the

human experience to feel pain

do not be afraid

open yourself to it

- evolving

loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself

you are in the habit

of co-depending

on people to

make up for what

you think you lack

who tricked you

into believing

another person

was meant to complete you

when the most they can do is complement

do not look for healing

at the feet of those

who broke you

if you were born with

the weakness to fall

you were born with

the strength to rise

perhaps the saddest of all

are those who live waiting

for someone they’re not

sure exists

- 7 billion people

stay strong through your pain

grow flowers from it

you have helped me

grow flowers out of mine so

bloom beautifully



bloom softly

however you need

just bloom

- to the reader

i thank the universe

for taking

everything it has taken

and giving to me

everything it is giving

- balance

it takes grace

to remain kind

in cruel situations


in love

with your solitude

there is a difference between

someone telling you

they love you and

them actually

loving you


the apology

never comes

when it is wanted

and when it comes

it is neither wanted

nor needed

- you are too late

you tell me

i am not like most girls

and learn to kiss me with your eyes closed

something about the phrase—something about

how i have to be unlike the women

i call sisters in order to be wanted

makes me want to spit your tongue out

like i am supposed to be proud you picked me

as if i should be relieved you think

i am better than them

the next time he

points out the

hair on your legs is

growing back remind

that boy your body

is not his home

he is a guest

warn him to

never outstep

his welcome


to be



to be


you deserve to be

completely found

in your surroundings

not lost within them

i know it’s hard

believe me

i know it feels like

tomorrow will never come

and today will be the most

difficult day to get through

but i swear you will get through

the hurt will pass

as it always does

if you give it time and

let it so let it



like a broken promise

let it go

i like the way the stretch marks

on my thighs look human and

that we’re so soft yet

rough and jungle wild

when we need to be

i love that about us

how capable we are of feeling

how unafraid we are of breaking

and tend to our wounds with grace

just being a woman

calling myself

a woman

makes me utterly whole

and complete

my issue with what they consider beautiful

is their concept of beauty

centers around excluding people

i find hair beautiful

when a woman wears it

like a garden on her skin

that is the definition of beauty

big hooked noses

pointing upward to the sky

like they’re rising

to the occasion

skin the color of earth

my ancestors planted crops on

to feed a lineage of women with

thighs thick as tree trunks

eyes like almonds

deeply hooded with conviction

the rivers of punjab

flow through my bloodstream so

don’t tell me my women

aren’t as beautiful

as the ones in

your country

our backs

tell stories

no books have

the spine to


- women of color

accept yourself

as you were designed

your body

is a museum

of natural disasters

can you grasp how

stunning that is

losing you

was the becoming

of myself

other women’s bodies

are not our battlegrounds

removing all the hair

off your body is okay

if that’s what you want to do

just as much as keeping all the hair

on your body is okay

if that’s what you want to do

- you belong only to yourself

apparently it is ungraceful of me

to mention my period in public

cause the actual biology

of my body is too real

it is okay to sell what’s

between a woman’s legs

more than it is okay to

mention its inner workings

the recreational use of

this body is seen as

beautiful while

its nature is

seen as ugly

you were a dragon long before

he came around and said

you could fly

you will remain a dragon

long after he’s left

i want to apologize to all the women

i have called pretty

before i’ve called them intelligent or brave

i am sorry i made it sound as though

something as simple as what you’re born with

is the most you have to be proud of when your

spirit has crushed mountains

from now on i will say things like

you are resilient or you are extraordinary

not because i don’t think you’re pretty

but because you are so much more than that

i have

what i have

and i am happy

i’ve lost

what i’ve lost

and i am



- outlook

you look at me and cry

everything hurts

i hold you and whisper

but everything can heal

if the hurt comes

so will the happiness

- be patient

the name kaur

makes me a free woman

it removes the shackles that

try to bind me

uplifts me

to remind me i am equal to

any man even though the state

of this world screams to me i am not

that i am my own woman and

i belong wholly to myself

and the universe

it humbles me

calls out and says i have a

universal duty to share with

humanity to nurture

and serve the sisterhood

to raise those that need raising

the name kaur runs in my blood

it was in me before the word itself existed

it is my identity and my liberation

- kaur

a woman of sikhi

the world

gives you

so much pain

and here you are

making gold out of it

- there is nothing purer than that

how you love yourself is

how you teach others

to love you

my heart aches for sisters more than anything

it aches for women helping women

like flowers ache for spring

the goddess between your legs

makes mouths water


are your own

soul mate

some people

are so bitter

to them

you must be kindest

we all move forward when

we recognize how resilient

and striking the women

around us are

for you to see beauty here

does not mean

there is beauty in me

it means there is beauty rooted

so deep within you

you can’t help but

see it everywhere


if it was not supposed to be there

would not be growing

on our bodies in the first place

- we are at war with what comes most naturally to us

most importantly love

like it’s the only thing you know how

at the end of the day all this

means nothing

this page

where you’re sitting

your degree

your job

the money

nothing even matters

except love and human connection

who you loved

and how deeply you loved them

how you touched the people around you

and how much you gave them

i want to remain so

rooted to the ground

these tears

these hands

these feet

sink in

- grounded

you have to stop

searching for why at some point

you have to leave it alone

if you are not enough for yourself

you will never be enough

for someone else

you must

want to spend

the rest of your life

with yourself


of course i want to be successful

but i don’t crave success for me

i need to be successful to gain

enough milk and honey

to help those around

me succeed

my heartbeat quickens at

the thought of birthing poems

which is why i will never stop

opening myself up to conceive them

the lovemaking

to the words

is so erotic

i am either in love

or in lust with

the writing

or both

what terrifies me most is how we

foam at the mouth with envy

when others succeed

but sigh in relief

when they are failing

our struggle to

celebrate each other is

what’s proven most difficult

in being human

your art

is not about how many people

like your work

your art

is about

if your heart likes your work

if your soul likes your work

it’s about how honest

you are with yourself

and you

must never

trade honesty

for relatability

- to all you young poets

give to those

who have nothing

to give to you

- seva (selfless service)

you split me open

in the most honest

way there is

to split a soul open

and forced me to write

at a time i was sure i

could not write again

- thank you

you have made it to the end. with my heart in your hands. thank you. for arriving here safely. for being tender with the most delicate part of me. sit down. breathe. you must be tired. let me kiss your hands. your eyes. they must be wanting of something sweet. i am sending you all my sugar. i would be nowhere and nothing if it were not for you. you’ve helped me become the woman i wanted to be. but was too afraid to be. do you have any idea how much of a miracle you are. how lovely it’s been. and how lovely it will always be. i am kneeling before you. saying thank you. i am sending my love to your eyes. may they always see goodness in people. and may you always practice kindness. may we see each other as one. may we be nothing short of in love with everything the universe has to offer. and may we always stay grounded. rooted. our feet planted firmly onto the earth.

- a love letter from me to you

rupi kaur is a writer and artist based in toronto, canada. throughout her poetry and illustrations she engages with themes of love, loss, trauma, healing, and femininity. she shares her writing with the world as a means to create a safe space for progressive healing and forward movement. her creative direction and photography have broken international boundaries and have since made it into galleries, magazines, and spaces around the world. when she is not writing or creating other art, she is traveling to perform spoken word, as well as hosting writing workshops. you can find more of her work at: www.rupikaur.com

- about the writer

milk and honey is a

collection of poetry about






and femininity

it is split into four chapters

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

- about the book

Check out these and other

Andrews McMeel books at


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milk and honey copyright © 2015 by Rupi Kaur. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of reprints in the context of reviews.

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ISBN: 978-1-4494-7866-7

Library of Congress Control Number: 2015946719

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Table of Contents

Title Page



the hurting

the loving

the breaking

the healing

a letter

about the writer

about the book

other books by Andrews McMeel