Attractions by John Allman



Kurdish Camp

Howling in the mud of Uludere, six years old, eyes squeezed shut, woolen coat spattered, its one toggle twisted like a piece of bone. Her undergarment shows beneath, its floral patterns unfurling toward the ground, where the wind swirls and grabs like a demented aunt. Stains on her coat splashed by treads of armored vehicles, a shoe visible only as a buckle, a footprint filled with rain. All this whiteness behind her. Sunlight glancing off lakes, a Presidential smile imperfectly faxed. Her left arm withdraws into a sleeve so invaded by wetness its fibers clump and squinge as they never do on sheep or goats. My fingers comb through short tangles in her hair. Her head pulled this way and that. Chin dimpled by the weight of a lower lip, the licorice darkness above. She screams. And screams.