North Haven


By Gabriella Brand, Poet Laureate 2022-

Who hasn’t worshipped, at least once,
in the vast cathedral of Home Depot?
Who hasn’t bowed before the big box stores,
the shrines to shopping, the holy labyrinth of parking lot?
Who hasn’t made a pilgrimage at one time or another
to Petco or Dick’s Sporting Goods,
or Chick Fil A, because even the devout get hungry.

This is the heart of North Haven, or so it seems.

And yet, right behind the bustle of Target,
beyond the noise of commerce,
another temple emerges:
the long and hallowed Quinnipiac, sacred to the tribes.
Leave your car behind, ignore the dumpsters, and approach the hidden marsh,
the serpentine sanctuary, quiet and still,
a refuge for osprey and duck, a nave of sky and water.
Night and day, the phragmites pray in the wind,
and the river swells and shrinks with the tides.

Drag a kayak down the steep clay bank
and head upstream through indolent bends,
through congregations of egrets, and
herons genuflecting in the reeds.
Paddle reverently, peacefully, undisturbed for miles,
the town unfolding somewhere beyond the muddy shore.