March 3, 2021

The Rupi Kaur Poems I would have Read to my Daughter.

If I had a daughter, I’d read to her the poetry of Rupi Kaur from the sun and her flowers.

I’d find her at that time when I still had a say. Maybe early in her adolescence, before she became her own woman and had some things to say to me.

I don’t have a daughter, though.

God blessed me with two sons, whom I revere. And, although they don’t appreciate reading poetry with their mother, we have many tender moments together.

Dancing with their hearts is my life’s greatest joy.

But, the heart of a woman, I must say, is a wildly, different dance. It is not superior—just more intricate. For womanhood is like living in a paradox; it means navigating an interior life that bears little relevance to the external environment.

It’s a physical body created to nurture, reproduce, and feed another person in a world that values independence and self-preservation. And, it’s this understanding that women carry with them that has the power to separate or bind us together—at any moment.

My mother imparted this wisdom to me, after I had my children and before she left this earth. It was when I’d finally stopped resisting our commonality, our essence.

Yes, it’s true, I hate to say, but the beauty and privilege of raising a daughter may have been lost on me. I’m not sure I was ready to become acquainted with these complexities when I was younger. I was too busy surviving another day to accept my intrinsic physical and spiritual nature.

But still, in my dreams, I pretended my shortcomings were solely the products of an outdated upbringing, another time—one that didn’t welcome or encourage women to know themselves as intimately.

When I close my eyes, I imagine how Kaur’s words may fall upon my dream-like daughter. I wonder if she’d feel Kaur’s naked truths as her own, and if they’d bring her to her knees. Or would it take her a lifetime to feel this resonance—as it did me.

Yet, I haven’t a doubt every word written in the sun and her flowers would call out to my daughter’s soul; like a hummingbird, I know, she’d be drawn to its sweet nectar.

The eyes of every young women I meet tells me this.

While I’d love to read every poem to her, these are the ones I’d make sure to recite, night after night:

“i notice everything I do not have
and decide it is beautiful.”

“why are you so unkind to me
my body cries
cause you don’t look like them
i tell her.”

“a lot of times
we are angry at a lot of people
for not doing what
we should have done for ourselves.
– responsibility”

i hear a thousand kind words about me
and it makes no difference
yet I hear one insult
and all confidence shatters.
– focusing on the negative”

we have been dying
since we got here
and forgot to enjoy the view.
– live fully”

this morning
i told the flowers
what i’d do for you
and they blossomed.”

“a man
– a gift”


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