TRC Reads Entry “The Break: a Poem”

Practice Point


Poem by CLEBC’s Jenny Andrews

Flooded with moonlight
There it is, The Break
Land covered in snow
Near which a woman will wake
To screams and voices
The sound of teens
A girl calls for help
She’s not even fifteen.

She watches with horror from her room
With a child in her arms,
She’s not sure what to do
Her conscience booms:
She’s thought it through
That she should run for the snow
And help this poor girl
But she’s afraid for her safety
And for her kids, too.

We meet two cops,
An old guy, a veteran,
And a young officer
Who happens to know better than
The old guy, his partner
In investigating this crime
And they have to solve it
Before they run out of time.

Woven for us is an intricate story
Of Indigenous lives
And how they connect
To this heinous crime

Like Stella, the mom
And Lou, who helps kids,
And Cheryl, the artist
And Paulina, who lives—

Through trauma and heartache
For her daughter, Em
Who I think is the strongest
Girl I’ve ever met—

In any book, ever,
I’m telling you this
From cover to cover
You won’t want to miss

The story of Phoenix
And her woeful life
And how her misfortunes
Are ultimately tied

To this fictional tale
Which is immersive and deep;
That wrenches your heart
It’s a front-row seat
To the aftermath of colonialism
And Residential Schools
And the real-life families
That struggle through it all.

Of course there are books
That give cold, hard facts
If you’re looking for this
This book is not that

This book is for those
Who want to be moved
For those who want feeling and heartbreak and revelation and CONNECTION AND SURVIVAL AND TRADITION AND FAMILY AND

a sense of what it means to be Indigenous, too.


* * *

We acknowledge that the land on which we work is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Book: The Break by Katherena Vermette