Milk and Honey

i taste blood on my lips when i kiss you my hands, sticky crimson 

grasp at your lapels 

pleading for attention, 

for compassion — 

it is between my thighs 

behind my eyes 

on my wrists  

my neck 

all the places your mouth should rest murmuring gentle words 

kind words 

are dripping now with red 

it is not my blood that coats, but theirs those who were stolen 

those who were shot 

those who resisted 

those who could not 

those who protected  

and those who could do more than close their  eyes and pray 

for what greater crime is there  

than to be a woman 

alive 

breathing 

whole  

in the land that flows with chalav and d’vash

but milk is meant to heal 

and honey just as sweet 

so when you stand before me  

arms open wide, warm, safe 

forgive me for pulling back. 

forgive me for saying no. 

because the faces of those girls 

children 

adults 

elderly  

have become the canvas of my closed eyelids and i know  

that i will taste their blood on my lips when i kiss you –

Miri Selengut


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