“The Daughter” A poem from the 2013 Adult Learner Essay Book

Since April is poetry month, we are featuring a poem that will be published in the 2013 Essay Book, “Believing That You Can”. The essay book will debut at the Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 9 during the Florida Literacy Conference.


The Daughter

A baseball star always crowded by many friends,

A Fashion student always dressed to impress.

Both had Dreams set so up high,

yet habits they couldn’t control.

They Crossed paths and a month later they got the news.

A Daughter to call their own, Half of him and half of her.

The happiest day of their lives,

When they heard their little bundle start her first cries.

Still their dreams vanished, disappeared.

Lives crumbling down slowly, but surely,

They just couldn’t take control.

Their child would take on becoming something more than they had become

Shoving their hopes and dreams down her throat every chance they could.

Not knowing the pressure they put on her

would also tempt her and she would fall astray.

Feeling the pain flowing through her veins,

Their broken hearts and failed dreams.

They say it was never supposed to be this way.

Now 20 years later, a life of her own.

She cautiously looks back at her past mistakes and regrets.

Remembering her parents suffering,

with tears sliding down her cheek,

She whispers to herself: “I will not fail, I will not suffer

I will not continue to follow their footsteps.

I will be true to myself.”

Alexandra Hernandez is a 20 year old student. She was born in Arlington, Virginia. She now resides in Miami and is an ABE/GED student in Ms. Arriete’s class at The English Center, Miami, Florida.


You don’t know me

You watched me come to your class just like any other student. You greeted me with a warm smile and caring eyes. You asked me to have a seat in your inviting classroom. I watched you speak words I didn’t understand. I watched as the other students raised their hands to question your words. I sat in the cold seat as the minutes went by like hours. I heard you call my name, and I waited for you to ask me, who I was.

You don’t know the painstaking ordeal it took for me to get here this morning. You don’t know how it feels to wake up in the dark or the fear in my heart when I have to wait for the bus. You don’t know that I have no umbrella, or why my clothes are wet and unkempt when I enter your class. You think I can’t feel your disappointment in me.

You don’t know I am grateful that I have an opportunity to learn. You don’t know that despite my appearance, my color, my imperfections, I choose to look beyond your quizzical gaze.

You don’t know that last night’s cold dinner was from the dumpster outside that fancy restaurant, the one near the bridge where we sleep.

You probably wonder why I stare at you as you eat in front of the class. You don’t know the noise in my stomach is because I didn’t have enough change in my pocket for breakfast this morning.

You don’t know why I come to your class half-asleep. You don’t know how uncomfortable it is for three people to sleep in a car, to sleep with one eye open, just in case.

You don’t know how lucky I feel that, at least, we have a car.

You don’t know I am listening, I do care, and I do want to learn.

You don’t know the tremendous courage it takes to raise my hand to answer your questions. You don’t know the last time I was in a classroom and how they ridiculed me for not pronouncing the words correctly.

You don’t know that in your classroom, I am the luckiest person in the world.

You don’t know that I am your student.

-Submission by  Armando J. Gutierrez, Ed.D., The English Center