The boy discovers a nymph
at water’s edge.

Standing in marsh muck
up to her ankles,
she looks like an awkward bird.

The creature cradles a bundle
of cattails in her arms.
Wind catches cattail fluff,
with a quick puff
carries it to sky,
an airy offering to the gods.

She drops the gift,
drifts over thick gunk
and brown mud,
beckons the boy.

Her eyes are the green
of tender reeds,
the green of moss
on hard stones
in cold creeks.

He shivers
beneath her gaze,
but follows her
into black water.

His father finds
at water’s edge.

[Neva Bryan writes: My poetry and short fiction appear in numerous literary journals and online magazines, including Appalachian Heritage, Appalachian Journal, Bluestone Review, Clinch Mountain Review, The Distillery, Floyd County Moonshine, Fried Chicken and Coffee, Inwood Indiana, Jimson Weed, Three Line Poetry, and (TBP in July 2017) The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. My published novels are St. Peter’s Monsters and Sawmill Boys. I am a contributor to the anthology We All Live Downstream: Writings about mountaintop removal. My novels Riverswept and Hearts Race are published under my pen name, Anneka Ever.]