Contingency Plans: Poems

David K. Wheeler

Contingency Plans: Poems by David K. Wheeler
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fiction Arts, Fiction
For readers of:Kevin Young, Mary Ruefle, Tony Hoagland
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Print Length102
PublisherT. S. Poetry Press
Publication DateOctober 15, 2010
About the Book

Contingency Plans maps the body, the land, and the hollows therein, eager to determine their dimensions, carried along by possibility, to find that what once made us anxious is out of the question, and what has kept us awake now sings us back to sleep.

Note to teachers: excellent for classroom use if you are teaching villanelles, pantoums, and sestinas.

I have nothing memorized


paper scraps tell me where I am supposed to be.

I have the answers written on my palm,

and the slick of my anxiety smears the ink,

maybe I’ll remember exactly what I meant later,

about how you cross your legs so close to the hip,

how you leave your lips split in the conversation lulls:

but I have nothing memorized.


ambition kills my ability to linger here.

I carry crumpled postcards

that explain where I’ve come from,

destinations divided by runway jets, shared armrests,

and me forgetting in-flight what I miss

about how you hold your head half-bowed before a meal

with answers in your folded fingers.


I have nothing memorized that I could recite for you

upon my arrival, I will forget everything like your birthday

and your favorite place, or to visit you on lunch breaks.

I won’t write you notes because I won’t remember

that you like those things I forget about you,

and I will spend every day getting to know you again

and never tire of it.


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About the Author

David K. Wheeler is a musician, essayist, and poet. His writing has appeared in The Morning News and in The Pacific Northwest Reader, an essay collection from Harper/Delphinium. David is an Associate Editor at Shelf Awareness and lives in Seattle, Washington.