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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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.
"These are poems of great spiritual crisis and consequence, where the dark night of the soul is a rugged rucksack shouldered by the poet. But the wilderness resounds with the voice of a choir and the wearying road can always beckon you home."
--Oliver de la Paz, author of Requiem for the Orchard
"A great poet confounds me; he uses the same materials I do -- words -- but where I've built a fort, he has erected a cathedral. Wheeler has "revealed the space behind our ribs," and I must remove my sandals."
--Susan Isaacs, author of Angry Conversations with God
"Simultaneously eloquent and potently raw; intimate reflections on spirituality and maturation, in harmony and conflict, that reverberate through every human journey."
--Carol Cassella, author of National Bestseller Oxygen