Attractions by John Allman



The transparent vase has fallen, shattered its neck and flower-etched sides, flung out our pebbles from Itasca, from icy water scooped where the Mississippi begins, where Schoolcraft made his name, Minnesota’s roundness feeding into turbulence. A brittle something has split open, its white nougat center a small nebula swelling toward outer darkness. Thinking of Vicksburg, I heft blue-gray embedded with marble or bone, clash in my hand a glacial debris, tiny mineral souls that wash into wild rice marshes. The little etched vase’s shivered lengths of milky flowers so thin they cut like syllables of low-down Biloxi singers with braided hair, knocking against barges, plunking holes in oil slick.