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

Biography

Scott Cairns was born in Tacoma, Washington. He received his B.A. from Western Washington University, his M.A. from Hollins College, an M.F.A. from Bowling Green State University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Utah. Cairns has taught at numerous universities including University of North Texas, Old Dominion University, and the University of Missouri. He was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 2006.

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Poem Categorization

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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