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  • Writer's pictureAlexis Rosenbaum

Milk and Blood by Terry Tempest Williams

Updated: Feb 13, 2021

Why these two words?

Because milk is what we desired first. Because blood is what drives the human heart. Because milk comes from our breasts and blood comes from our wombs.

Because what every woman knows is that we are remade each time we make love, each time we feel the blood making its way through our body into our cupped hands, we remember it is our destiny to make change.

Milk and blood. Why these two words?

Because milk as in cow as in goat as in breast as in semen as in any substance that nurtures and nourishes at once is at the heart of pleasure. Because we drink deeply. Because we drink deeply out of both need and desire.

Because blood as in flow as in menses as in moon as in cycle means I am not pregnant. Because what every woman knows each month when she bleeds is that life begins anew now. Because what every woman understands each time she makes love is that life could be in the making now. Which is why when a woman allows another to enter her, it is not just a physical act, but a spiritual one.

Milk and blood.

Milk and blood. Men and women. Pleasure and pain. Love is to life what inevitability is to death. And so we risk everything to try to touch the ineffable by touching each other. Again and again. Over and over. With little control. We wish we could control. Out of control. We lose our minds and find them as we lose ourselves in fire.

We are Fire. We are Water. We are Earth. We are Air. We are all things elemental.

What a woman never forgets is this: we hold the moon in our bellies and the sun in our hearts. In the darkness, we shine. In daylight, we burn. We are milk and blood.

We enter a pact with the angels that when a child is conceived in us, dear sisters, we will give our lives to love. Always, to love. In love, our bodies are remade. Women and remade.

Because until we bleed, we check our wombs every day for the stirrings of life. Because until we bleed, we wonder if our life will be one or two or three. Because until we bleed, we imagine every possibility from pleasure to pain to birth to death and wonder, day and night, how we will do what needs to be done and when we stop bleeding, we enter the pause of wisdom that says, what needs to be done is the work of women.

Unreasonable Women. Wild Women. Smart Women. All Women.

We join hands in the great circling of life and remember what binds us together is milk and blood.

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