Attractions by John Allman



It could be that its metal once dissolved in the flow from the hills, from the foundries, the glass blowers, the harness makers. A hundred years later, hippies in the woods threw things in the stream that became part of it. An attitude. Or it was the lightning that struck the molded iron framework the water leaps within (in the beach town, people are getting shocks in outdoor showers). One drink and it drives fever and chills out of two boys with malaria.

An old woman lawyer with leftist sympathies fills an eye-dropper and drips it on the DNA sample from her client already 17 years in prison for rape. He's still guilty, but he stops smoking and the missing lobe of his left lung reappears, pink and spongy.

Someone brings a beaker of it to Newark and pours it into the sidewalk cracks among the brick buildings of public housing. The Secretary of HUD develops a swollen prostate and can't pee. The mayor is found weeping tears of vinegar on the porch of his abandoned home.