A Mother’s Day Poem

For Mother’s day we thought we would share a poem written by one of our familly members which was recently published in “Teen Ink”.

A very happy Mother’s Day to all the HExN mothers!!

my mother: by Anna Strosser, Danbury, CT

cracked fingers

splitting nails

with sweat above her brow and dirt between her toes

she would say to me, “Anna, you can do anything.”

confused by its subjectivity

lost in the translation

was it permission or expulsion?

dear mother,

I hope it was permission

for all your back-breaking


overwhelmingly hair-pulling tendencies

you’ve built a home

I know you never graduated

and your report cards were never on refrigerators

you had a sick mother in your bed at the age of 17

worrying about medical bills

I have a cracked screen on my phone at the age of 17

and friends who do drugs to busy themselves

And you say I can do anything I want

I know you think that means I should graduate

have my report cards on refrigerators

that I should get that master’s that you never got

in that field you found so interesting

but your hands were busy wrist-deep

in sponge baths and medications

you must’ve felt so alone

that you couldn’t do anything

but be there

be without

be a dropout


I hope

god, I pray

that when you say I can do anything

that you know I don’t need to read textbooks

to be knowledgeable

I don’t need a man to shake my hand and give
me a diploma

to have self-worth

that I don’t need my master’s

to love myself

I hope you love yourself

I hope you know all I wish to do

is be half as strong as you