A Lot

By Scott Cairns b. 1954 Scott Cairns

A little loam and topsoil
is a lot.

—Heather McHugh

A vacant lot, maybe, but even such lit vacancy
as interstate motels announce can look, well, pretty   
damned inviting after a long day’s drive, especially
if the day has been oppressed by manic truckers, detours,   
endless road construction. And this poorly measured, semi-
rectangle, projected and plotted with the familiar   
little flags upon a spread of neglected terra firma
also offers brief apprehension, which—let’s face it,   
whether pleasing or encumbered by anxiety—dwells   
luxuriously in potential. Me? Well, I like
a little space between shopping malls, and while this one may   
never come to be much of a garden, once we rip   
the old tires from the brambles and bag the trash, we might   
just glimpse the lot we meant, the lot we hoped to find.

Scott Cairns, “A Lot” from Philokalia: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Scott Cairns. Reprinted with the permission of Zoo Press.

Source: Philokalia: New and Selected Poems (Zoo Press, 2002)

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Poet Scott Cairns b. 1954

Subjects Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries, Activities, Travels & Journeys

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Scott  Cairns


Scott Cairns was born in Tacoma, Washington. He earned a BA from Western Washington University, an MA from Hollins College, an MFA from Bowling Green State University, and a PhD from the University of Utah.
Cairns is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Theology of Doubt (1985), The Translation of Babel (1990), Philokalia (2002), Idiot Psalms (2014), and Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems (2015). His writing has . . .

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SUBJECT Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries, Activities, Travels & Journeys

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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