Around Hartford

The Connecticut River

The Trinity Reporter asked creative writing student Caroline Richards ’22 to pen a piece about the landmark river that flows through Hartford. Amid the frenzy of the COVID-19 pandemic, Richards’s words provide a moment of reflection and calm.

By Caroline Richards ’22

Connecticut River
Photo by Nick Caito

The Connecticut River

the people set up shop along the river beds,
passing smoke back and forth to the stirring
of the crickets in the tall grass

by the ice coolers. they chuckle from deep
below their chests and trade things
back and forth, this or that between them

and beside them the river keeps time.
in plastic chairs they sit and smoke
and watch the river go by as rippled flashes

of their lives. when they were younger
they ran lean and naked into the river
and after they perched on the bank

and felt changed, older somehow. 
their imparted words inhabit more space
beside the river than in the grey city air,

so their plans are laid out in the reeds
by the heavy pebbles they give to the blue
water and watch disappear into the murk

of time. the river awakens them,
rubs its long fingers against the rushing
rocks on the algae-coated floor

and stretches its slender neck about
the children resting on the sandy shoulder
of yesterday. further on

they sometimes wave
to a passing barge or to the sailboats
chasing white skirts late into June.

they will see me on the other side, too,
watching them watch
the river as it winds quietly between

the land and the grass, smoothing our hair
before offering our hands as though
we are not strangers,

departing again.