There are sounds

everywhere we go

There was the farm

The thump thump thump and

thwack thwack thwack

Nervous feet stepping over twisting roots and breaking branches.

Then there was the silent irregularity

of gun shots in Crown Heights

Booms we never heard

that deafened our ears all the same.

Then there was the




of Billie Holiday’s voice

echoing through the streets of Harlem

Only complemented by

the thuds of basketballs on pavement

and cars zooming past.

Then there was the squeak of sneakers and silent padding of feet on wood floors and laughter and clapping as we watched men and women dance and twirl and flail and show us what it means to be part of the Ballroom scene which was really the Acceptance Tolerance Love Scene.

Then there was the splash

the rush of running water


into seemingly endless depths

Flowing from the names of those we lost on those days in 1993 and 2001.

Then there was the resonating note

the prayer

in Arabic

at Park 51

Which we all heard

with our foreheads

resting on the ground.

Then there was the whoosh

of everyone’s heartbeats

through my ears

through their chests

as we hugged

after hearing from the TV in rash words, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN NOT GUILTY.

Then there was the finality of a heavy door slamming that was the last sound so many of us heard.


We listen

everywhere we go

We learn to use our ears before our mouths To listen for the things left unsaid The cries not yet cried The laughs not yet laughed and the words too dangerous and too meaningful To have been spoken until now.

– Sarah Neukrug OU ’13, Central High School ’14