Familiarity Principle Michael Prior Your letter lies unopened on the counter. Onscreen, Lauren Bacall slides off Bogart’s lap and leans against the frame: You know how to whistle, don’t you? Consider the question. Seventy years ago, it tented trousers in the theater’s dusk, those dreamers who returned home to hold their wives and imagine a life apart. My first tried to teach me how to whistle. She curled her tongue, summoned every taxi in film noir. I pursed my lips, blew, and sprayed spit all over the sheets. Whom had I failed to reach? Bacall seven decades removed, my predecessors seeding the earth. Come on. We all took Psych 101. Does no one remember the story about the husband who went to work overseas? He wrote his wife a letter every day. She left him for the mailman.


Michael Prior's poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in The Collagist, The Fiddlehead, Geist, The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, and The Walrus. His first chapbook is forthcoming from Frog Hollow Press in 2015, and his first collection will be published by Véhicule Press' Signal Editions in 2016.