Silenced Dreams

An Innocent decision to shop on winter’s day
Left hundreds of shoppers in harm’s way
Bubbling laughter, carefree and chirping loud
A hand holding, connecting, cheerful crowd,
Joyful, camaraderie, a sense of family time
But anger, hatred and cowardice lurked in the line

Beneath the hooded sweatshirt and aloof glare
Inside the cold eyes of cynicism and hostility and dare
The trigger was pulled, the silver bullets released
A crimson tale of violence replaced the former peace
Driven to extreme instant fixes from playground disputes
Addicted to scapegoating, deception, control, and stealing loot

Fear envelopes and panic ensues
Seconds seem like hours and then the news
Unfathomable, in denial I try to comprehend
Why a bright, athletic teen’s life has come to an end
The gangs came to settle it all
Why do the best among us have to take the fall?

A loser took the life of a winner with lofty goals
Trophies, awards, friendships, outings, cottage vacations, a life that was whole
Brother, sister, parents, relatives, students and school staff- her voice they’ll never hear
For silence is a bitter tear
Of getting a driver’s license, dates, athletic banquet or prom
For guns violence is so unforgivably wrong.

I am frustrated, angry and full of rage
How can we put these animals all in one cage?
Let them settle their differences at close range in the afternoon light
For they took an angel forever from our sight
Relentless and unrepentant fools know this- heaven if filled with spirited heart
Even though for now we are apart.

Anita L. Barber

Anita L. Barber is a teacher. She composed this poem shortly after learning of the murder of Jane Creba. This poem was read at the conclusion of the reading of all 52 names and ages of the victims of gun violence in 2005, on the one week anniversary candlelight vigil and moment of silence on January 2, 2006 at the makeshift memorial for Jane Creba.

Leave a Reply