D V L S  R V R

a mixed media collaboration with artist Emily Galusha | sketches by emily | poetry by clara | photos by both

when tread hits bridge

our heads habitually turn

towards the drop,

our eyes scanning

for the glint of sun on water,

an old instinct

embedded even

in us big city slickers


especially out here

in this border kingdom of

limestone and sage

where the sun punishes

and all that stands between

life and death

is a plastic jug of

hot Aquafina


and even with a jug

our throats are dry 

and our heads are dizzy

when we finally submerge

in the blue seam

that splits the desert, carrying

sky and minnows and beads of sweat

all the way to Coahuila


they say the devil

came to the river in 1841

when a Texas ranger

surveyed the prickly pear cliffs

and muttered: hell,

but like all borders

the one between

heaven and hell is more porous

than we’d like to admit


from the hostile rock

cold springs flow

straight from the karst

to our naked shoulders

and we sigh a small prayer

of relief