Searching the Parking Lot for a Poem

Though I’ve been silent several months,

I might now write about a man

and a woman in a parking lot.

This parking lot is very large,

acres, and there are but few cars

huddled beneath the scattered trees,

like cattle in western Kansas.


I would want to be clear, to make

understood that the distances

are vast, and that the air contains

a heat, something like four in the

afternoon, when the air is like

that last still moment inside

a balloon just before the balloon


blows up. I could say something

about the man and his marriage and

about the woman and her marriage,

but I might not. It would be better

to mention that his car was a

long way from her car but he walked

with her all the way to the far


end of the lot where her car stood

and then when she left he walked

all the way back. I would not make

the reader think this journey was

difficult, like desert fathers

searching thirstily for Christ.

I would just want to point out that


they were together for a long time

and then the man was without her

a long time. Merely that. Because

the poem is not about the parking

lot or all their walking about.

The poem occurs when they arrive

at her car and they stand looking


at each other. This is where really

huge distances are, the inches

separating two bodies. Here,

I find unbearable heat. Here

is the silence so full of words

they float between parked cars waiting

to call her back with this poem.


From Sulphur River Literary Review, Best Texas Writing I (Rancho Loco Press) , and The Road Home (Dalton Publishing)

For my thoughts about writing this poem, follow this link.

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About lymangrant

Lyman Grant is a professor of creative writing and humanities at Austin Community College. He has work at ACC since 1978. He is the author or editor of two textbooks, two books relating to Texas literature, three volumes and a chapbook of poetry. Recently he traveled the United States for a year in a 34-foot RV 5th wheel trailer with his wife and two younger sons.