Another Day in Redneck Heaven
by Sam Karas
Photo Art by Asheley Baker
for Emily & John
I got off the river
& everything was f—ed.
There were ropes strung
across the canyons & mounds
of clothes on the beaches.
I found myself deep in
country so strange I didn’t
know the names of
the animals howling
around me. Karaoke night
at La Kiva she tripped
& cracked her face
on that boat. Devo said
it was the meatiest flap
he’d ever seen. For awhile
it hurt to laugh. Still she was
the most beautiful light this side
of sunrise. My truck was making
the sound of an animal in pain.
John sunk his whole arm
under the hood & pulled out
a catfish gasping for home.
We ate good for days. That’s what
I loved about them. How the river
would bend to meet them.
in another life things were
getting western at Fiesta Heights.
Do you remember those brothers
he used to drink with, the ones
who got disappeared? Aliens,
they said. Weren’t never the same after that. One got caught on the bad road from nowhere with a horse trailer full of cocaine. One got caught climbing
out of Spirit Eye with an armful of bones. He dug a hole &
planted them. Said someday that dog’ll hunt. Said something else in the paper, I don’t remember. What good is all this remembering when I don’t even know
where you are. I’m sitting in my boat in the front yard
wondering. If where you are the water is clear. If there’s shade from a cottonwood tree
& little pink flowers sprouting out of the rocks. If there is still some weed left in the bottom
of that bag. If she’s laughing again & if you are loving her
Sam Karas is a recovering river guide and the South County reporter for the Big Bend Sentinel & Presidio International. She holds a degree in English from the University of Chicago and an MFA in poetry and playwriting from the Michener Center for Writers at UT-Austin. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @sammiecarrots and subscribe to Brave River, a monthly newsletter about her backcountry misadventures: braveriver.substack.com.
Asheley Baker is a local artist/writer and resident for over ten years in Terlingua. Coming from a background in English Literature, she is also a former instructor of American Sign Language and Interpreting at Pima community college in Tucson, AZ as well as a licensed interpreter. When she is not creating art, her main focus now is raising her amazing son, 13 year old Bailey Baker, working with people she loves at the Starlight Theatre and realizing her dream of continuing to put down roots in far West Texas.