She kneels before the river,
the ankles of her snow boots resting on the bench-edge.
Beside her, The Lightning Thief, three mysteries, Brave,
and a packet of cheese crackers make a small tower.
Ignoring the crackers,
she watches the deer who sniffs the air for danger
before dipping its head in the river.
She wants to swim downstream in grey and blue
where the water’s wild direction drops from sight.
She turns to watch the librarian busy with the Holds cart
and then etches the name Alia into the river with her fingernail.
Alia knows it is not allowed,
but she obeys an inner devotion
to a moving sanctuary, an altar of water.
Alia writes her name in the river
because it calls her daughter.
Alia dives into her river,
ancient gills awakening to underwater life.
The river’s name is Alia
and it carries the kneeling girl home.