SOUTH TEXAS GOTHIC
· They drain the San Antonio Riverwalk once a year. They tell you it’s shallow, only three feet deep, but no matter how much you stare you cannot see the bottom. They’ve found prosthetic limbs in the annual dredging.
· You’ve been driving for hours. Surely you’re out of state lines by now, you tell yourself. But the scenery hasn’t changed at all, and the sky has long turned dark. You can’t remember the last town you went through.
· There are lights above Marfa. People come from far and wide to see them, but we don’t talk about them. We don’t talk about the lights above Marfa- they listen. We don’t want them to hear us.
· We don’t sing “Deep in the Heart of Texas” because it’s a tradition. We sing it to keep it sated. Because deep in the hill country, if you stand still enough, you can feel a deep, steady throb beneath your feet.
· You hear screams in the heavy heat of summer nights. Your mother tells you that it’s nothing but the wind, but you don’t believe her. There hasn’t been wind in months.
· The heat is sticky and heady against your skin, even in the dead of night. “Sure is hot this summer,” your mother says. Her eyes are glassy, and her teeth grind together as she stares out into the distance. “Sure is hot.”
· There are tunnels beneath San Antonio. They connect the missions to San Fernando Cathedral. They’ve long been closed off- no one goes in the tunnels. No one wants to go in the tunnels.
· The grackles are waiting in the grocery store parking lot. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of them- they scream into the sky and watch you as you pack away your groceries.
· The ground has cracked into dusty plates. There are children that have never seen rain. You don’t remember the last time it rained. A lot of people say it never will again.
· Basements are banned. The ground is too dry, they say. It’ll crack your foundation. But you know why they’re banned. Everyone knows why. But we must forget.
· The forest is deep, so very deep. You walk on, but all you find is a roofless hut filled with shotgun shells. There are claw marks on the wall, on the ground. You scuff at them with your shoe.
· Off the highway, decaying farmhouses stand like gray smudges against the blue sky. The cattle graze around them, away from them. The grass around them is dead.
· Don’t Mess with Texas. Texas remembers. Texas is vengeful.
· You don’t watch the heat waves that rise off of the gravel. Look forward. Look forward. Keep driving.