CLARA BENSEN
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VALERO

VALERO

there’s a certain Texas sunset

that summons you to your knees

with a devastating glory

that slows the mind and wakens the deep

it’s a blaze that can find you anywhere

even the Valero station just north of the border

a paved petroleum temple

lined with plastic bottles, tire shreds and chocolate wrappers

and suddenly you’re staggering across the parking lot

as the hours collapse

and it hits you how the pulsing clouds above the diesel pumps

form an argent throne for a hidden god

and the god is a secret language

of a song that can’t be heard with ears

a tremendous chorus

sung by all things formed, formless and yet to be formed

    and there you are standing on a pile of trash

    beneath yellow acacia branches drifting in the wind

and you forget your own name

right as you forget the face of your mother

you have never seen a sun sink

you have never known a gravel parking lot until this moment

        when every blade, pore, and tread

        cries SACRÉ, SACRÉ, SACRÉ!

            and you find you know nothing

            and the nothing knows you