“The Silence of the City” by Emily Curtis is a stunning poem that reveals what it is like to live without your hearing. The poem begins with the narrator speaking in second person point of view, where “you,” the reader, walk through a typical city setting. Then the point of view changes to first person as the narrator reveals what it is like to walk through the same city with no sounds.
The narrator explains the experience in the lines, “You don’t live in my world. I, too, see green trees, tall buildings, and cement sidewalks. But the busy streets I walk are quiet.” Through this poem, Emily cleverly depicts what it feels like to live without hearing as she describes “smelling golden hot dogs,” the “vibrations of the drum playing,” and “the yellow cabs dashing by” but is always careful to avoid incorporating sound in her poem.
Emily’s poem opened my eyes to life without sound. Because sound plays such a big role in my life, it’s hard to imagine what being deaf would be like. Emily sheds light on a silent world of smell, sight, and touch.
Being constantly surrounded by sound, I tend to take it for granted. Without hearing, I wouldn’t be able to listen to the world around me, communicate verbally, or listen to music. This poem made me realize how lucky I am to be able to hear.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.