By Miriam Felman
Based on The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
*Spoiler warning for The Marrow Thieves *
Two familiar syllables that enter my ear and swirl around my chest,
stirring up a tangle of old emotions
before finding their home in my heart.
I never thought I’d hear that voice again
I never thought I’d see that face again
I never thought I’d feel so small again
My love for Rose and the others makes me feel strong, empowered, brave
Like it is my purpose to protect them
But just hearing my father’s voice turns me into a little kid
cuddled up next to my brother, shivering from the cold, yet glowing warm inside
Because no matter how biting the wind is, or who’s out to get us
My dad is here, and everything is going to be okay.
I can see it in his eyes.
His eyes that are hopefully scanning our group for him
Selfless, courageous Mitch, who gave his life for mine.
The high-pitched screech of the Recruiter’s doom whistle echoes through my skull, followed by Mitch’s sickening banging and taunting.
I’m hit with a wave of nausea.
Now he’s gone.
Mom is gone.
Sometimes the weight of missing them pushes down on my chest so hard, I can’t breathe.
Dad’s eyes meet mine, and I don’t need to say any words for him to know
We hold each other and cry and wail and curse the Recruiters
And it feels so good to feel that pain together
To share the sorrow with someone else so it’s not buried deep and heavy within me
melted into my bone marrow
weighing down my bones
but instead my grief and anger bubble to the surface along with Dad’s
Our marrow on fire together.
Dab, whip, nae nae, lit
My generation is trash
I am disgusted
Welcome to Nepean
By: Lianna D'Angelo
Welcome to Nepean, you terrified grade nines,
Hopefully, this poem can give you peace of mind.
Small fish in a big pond, boy have we been there,
The great white shark from middle school, now gasping for air.
You feel like you're invisible,
Like no one really cares.
Or like you’re invincible,
Til you behold the stairs.
You’ll see familiar faces,
Recognize grade tens.
But they’ve already run the bases,
And even made some friends.
You’d think after their first year,
Experienced and in-group.
But inside they all do still fear,
The horrors of the stoop.
Grade eleven’s where that changes,
I know it to be true.
Not only close in ages,
But friendships will come too.
In that year will come maturity,
With thoughts towards the future.
You may find security,
Getting through this juncture.
Grade twelves, congrats you made it,
This year so bittersweet,
You’ll swear that school, you hate it,
But wish it could repeat.
You’ll hope to have things solved,
By the time your time has finished.
You finally have evolved,
But the stress has not diminished.
College and University,
Or backpacking through Roma.
There’s too much diversity,
After securing that diploma.
Well, what do you want to be?
They’ve asked you from the start.
I hope one day it’s clear to see,
Til then follow your heart.
“And I oop” I say
Scrunchie and hydroflask
In hand, SKSKSK
Just keep breathing
By: Lane Audrey
Today wednesday the 15th is my one year anniversary of being adopted and I'm spending it at school writing my summatives. I feel as if I’m drowning but I need to keep going and pushing through after all there is one benefit of today, I’m going to get to lie in my bed and play on my DS. as sad as that sounds it’s not schoolwork or memorizing lines, its me doing what I want to do for a few moments. For some people it’s cuddling their animals, and for others it can be taking a bath, even though I am very stressed I am able to remember that I'm loved, cared about, and that this semester is almost over.
Sprinkle of Sugar
By: Anna Berglas
He is out back smoking, but with a
Cotton candy cigarette.
It is sweet, these fumes, and inside she bakes.
It is sweet, these fumes.
Like icing without eggs or milk.
He is out back smoking and she is inside,
Outside, the sky is pinkish purple.
Inside, the ceiling glows with silicone stars.
It is like a sugar-cane cliff edge
It is death before love do us part
It is burnt cookies and smoke.
What they don't realize
By Maddie M
People think I'm strange.
They wonder why I walk into the school with a smile on my face.
Or why I look surprised when someone invites me to sit with them.
Or why I'm astounded that I can walk through the halls without being sworn at or called names.
People ask me a lot of questions.
They say "how can you actually enjoy this?"
Or "Why would you pick to go somewhere where you didn't know anyone?"
Or "Out of all the schools to pick, why would you choose to come here?"
People don't know.
They don't know that I came from a school that had so many fights that seeing ambulances outside and people being rushed out of the school on stretchers was perfectly normal.
Or that being stuck in secure school was never a surprise, it was just a regular, almost weekly occurrence.
Or that the environment and people there were so toxic that a quarter of the people in my grade left because they couldn't take it anymore.
People don't realize.
They don't realize that the reason that I smile when I walk into the school is because for me, it saved my life.
Or that the reason I'm surprised when people ask me to sit with them is because nobody had ever asked me to before.
Or that the reason I'm astounded that I feel safe at school is because I spent an entire year worrying about getting beaten up for being proud of who I am.
People often don't understand.
They don't understand how I can enjoy this school because the vast majority of them had never known another school and thus could not compare.
Or they don't understand why I would pick to go to a school where I knew nobody because they had gone to school with the same people all their lives, and now they couldn't imagine leaving them.
Or they don't understand why I would choose to go here out of all the other schools in the board because to them, the grass is always greener on the other side and any school looks better than this one.
To them, this school may just feel like:
A waste of time
A convenient place to see their friends.
But to me, it means much more than that. It's:
A fresh start
A new lease on life
A community of people who have my back
By: Linda Berry
When we look at ourselves in the mirror, the reactions of people that barely know us are shoved in our faces.
When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we picture what we’d rather see instead. When we look at ourselves in the mirror, the nature of the smile that spread across our face only minutes ago, surrenders to the harsh judgement that is gnawing at us in our heads. Our happiness is replaced by discontent, discomfort, despair. That’s when our shoulders sage, and we imagine a million other people who look like what we would rather be. It’s because of the list that is looming down on us wherever we go.
A list that represents what beauty is.
A list with criteria so long, that some people try their whole lives to meet all of its criteria, failing miserably.
An impossible list.
But when we look in the mirror, we can’t help but notice the list, shaming us for not meeting its standards.
The feeling of failing a test washes over us, and although we’ve had enough, although we want to shove the list into the garbage, we can’t.
And even though this seems like enough, we are forced to digest the lists of others, letting it sink in when they’ve met all the criteria that we haven’t.
Everytime we go to the mall, everytime we turn on the TV, even in our own houses it exists. We cannot hide from it, ignore it, destroy it.
But collectively, we can change it.
By: Anna Berglas
Sometimes you feel the need to be perfect in order to be valuable
Although perfection is impossible to achieve.
Instead, how about
Worth my time and worry and pain
Dripping off my chin
Pooling along my jaw
Worth the shaky bike ride to track your address
To betray you in a phone call
A mother that will sob
Men with guns
And I’ll never see your
Indescribable universal beauty again
The type that makes my eyes melt
Into rivers of words unspoken
A desire so deep and desperate
To see you again
To know that others see you
To be able to wait for someone to draw the lense upon your eyes
So you can see the beauty too
By: Anna Carsley-Jones
A new room
A new street
A new backyard
A new door
A new floor
A new start
And another crack in my heart
Moving once again
The rental lease is up
Find a new place
Pack all of my stuff
The U-Haul is going
On its way to the new house
My tears begin flowing
Our next living space
Memorizing the number of our new home phone
A different fireplace
Yet I will always be cold from my dislike of the unknown
Ever since I was ten
That is when the divorce happened
I have not known a home since then
Mom says that it is a new adventure
A new place to explore
But I do not want adventure
I want a home, one familiar creaky floor
There Will Always be Sunlight
By: Joyce Lau
Years seemed to have passed without any sun
Taking away our merriment and joy
It is clear we can no longer outrun
Their desire to break our heart and destroy
We no longer struggle for our high hopes
Because we know there is no cure at all
So we can only look through telescopes
To look for shining stars that shall not fall
And despair over the fallen dull stars
So that we understand the hopelessness
That we may have set too high of a bar
And have ruined our chance at happiness
But the clouds have fled and the sun shined bright
And a new start has come and there is light.
By: Natasha Mazerolle
A new start, I think. Here we go again.
That’s right, again. By my count, this is the fourth time I’ve been given a new start. That sounds pretty great, right? I’ve been given four chances to make a good first impression and even reinvent myself if I wanted, isn’t that awesome?
Well, in theory, yes. In practice? Not really.
Before we continue, let me introduce myself. Call me K. I’m fourteen years old, Canadian, and my mom’s with the foreign service, so I’ve lived overseas twice in my life. I’m back in Canada now so like I said before I have a new new start.
For the most part, living overseas was fun. Obviously, I still went to school and you’d be surprised how many English speaking international schools there are in non-English speaking countries. But honestly, there are some parts that suck.
Moving is a real hassle, because you have to pack everything up and once you get to the new place you won’t see your stuff for a few weeks to months because they’re on an air shipment and sea shipment.
Meeting new people and making new friends is difficult because I have a little pain-in-the-butt thing known as social anxiety. This of course sucks since I really don’t want to be alone while I’m living in a foreign country for about 4 years.
Then you have to say goodbye to them and we all say that “we’ll stay in touch” and “we’ll be best friends forever,” but in reality they stop texting you that frequently after about four months. I don’t even remember anyone from our first overseas posting, probably because I didn’t really have any friends.
And don’t even get me started on having to learn a new language...
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Where was I? Oh, right. A new start.
I leave the house and make my way up to the school. My mom was really nice and bought a house close to the high school I’m going to, it’s great so that if I’m ever alone at lunch I can just walk over to the house and eat there. I have a house key after all.
The walk takes only about a minute and soon my mom and I are standing in front of the front entrance.
“Go up the steps, K, I want to take your picture.” Mom says.
“Alright.” I say and walk halfway up the steps until Mom says stop. I put on my best smile and say “Cheese!” as she takes the picture on her phone. I can only think about how she’ll probably post this on Facebook later like all North American moms do when their child is starting high school.
She lets me see how the picture looks and then after a few more takes, we finally head inside after I berate Mom about how I don’t want to be late.
We go to Student Services and I’m given my schedule. There are some problems with my homeroom, but besides that, it looks good. I think I’m going to enjoy this semester.
We head to a large gym and my mom finally says goodbye. I’m finally alone.
I just walk around. Everyone is talking so loudly and the gym seems so bright.
I don’t know anyone here.
That thought keeps repeating my through my mind as I see girls run up practically shrieking at their old friends from primary school and embracing each other in hugs as they ask each other how their summer was.
The thought keeps running through my mind as I see guys high fiving each other and loudly reminiscing about funny moments from primary school while they talk about what they’re excited about.
I keep on thinking that thought as I look around at everyone in this too large room and finally let it sink in that I’m alone.
I can’t focus. I feel like crying. I suddenly remember how my old friends I met in Brazil still haven’t answered my texts yet. I remember how I still haven’t been able to get a hold of my old friends here in Canada. My mind fills with images and thoughts of how I’m going to be lonely through all of high school and that because of my different past experiences, I’ll practically be an outsider. I try to wipe away the coming tears. It’s getting hard to breathe…
“Hey, are you hanging out with anyone?” A voice says.
I look up. It’s a girl with black hair and glasses, she’s wearing a grey sweater with black pants.
“No actually, I’m pretty new here.” I reply.
I got a friend. I’ll call her F.
F and I talked, and we laughed. Now in this brand new start I won’t be completely alone.