Dear America: It’s Time to Teach Our Daughters How

Life as we know in America is at a crossroads. Now, more than ever, conflicting political and social perspectives reflect a need for women to collectively define our moral imperatives, clarify cultural values, and inspire meaningful change—especially to our daughters.

In that motherly and patriotic spirit, poet Suzanne Frischkorn submitted the following poem to—along with more than 130 writers, artists, scientists and political and community leaders who have come together since the 2016 presidential election to offer their impassioned letters to America in a new book, Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance and Democracy (Trinity University Press, April 2020).

It’s Time to Teach My Daughter How

By Suzanne Frischkorn

(Excerpt from Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy)

It’s time to teach my daughter how to shoot an arrow

How to use a knife

How to hit the center of a target

It’s bloody work, but she should know

It’s time to teach her how to win a debate

While applying lipstick without a mirror

And how to hold her keys between her fingers in a parking lot

It’s time for her to hit the weight room

Join the cross-country team

Cast a spell, literally and figuratively

And it’s time for her to develop telekinesis and clairvoyance

It’s time she knows to never leave her drink unattended

Never drink on an empty stomach

Never drink before her period

And maybe what I mean to say is—never drink alcohol period

It’s time to learn that one day she might switch

Grocery stores because a guy on staff there gives her the creeps

And even if it’s less convenient to travel across town

It’s always best to trust her intuition

It’s time to teach her that when a grown man stares at her

New breasts, she is not the one who should feel ashamed

America, she’s her mother’s daughter

She’s got this


Suzanne Frischkorn is the author of several poetry collections and the recipient of a Connecticut Individual Artist Fellowship, a Writer’s Center Emerging Writers Fellowship, and the Aldrich Poetry Award.