after two months, three weeks and two days, my boyfriend leaves his toothbrush in my bathroom

walking through Foodtown
at 10:35
on a Wednesday night
in need of chocolate
to go with our ice cream

he said

i was thinking
i'd buy a new toothbrush
leave it
at your place
if that's okay

up til then
his toothbrush
had made overnight visits
four or five times a week
(sometimes seven times
if we were being truly gluttonous)
leaving with him
in the morning

my heart
stopped for a second
or maybe it raced
or maybe
both at once

i can't remember

i said


and tried
to breathe

back at my place
he unwrapped
his new toothbrush
and put it
next to mine

in the morning
when he was gone
i got up
had breakfast
brushed my teeth
and put my toothbrush
next to his

Paula Harris

Published in Poetry NZ 29
September 2004