The Toothbrush

The Toothbrush
by Sue Guiney


By mistake I left my toothbrush in the downstairs bathroom

standing at attention, awaiting my return.


All day long I remembered to retrieve it

and bring it back to its home in the cup upstairs.


I remembered when I brought the dried towels from the laundry

and put them on the shelf across the room.


I remembered once again when I loaded the dishwasher

and swept up toast crumbs fallen in the corner.


Endless hours I remembered my poor toothbrush, only to watch it

slip back to that world of lost thoughts —


until just now when I stopped what I was doing

and marched up to that sink, laughing to imagine


my long-suffering toothbrush chuckling at me, having waited

so patiently, erect and out of place.


Imagine my surprise, then, when I found it not there;

the space beside the downstairs’ toothpaste vacant,


vacant like me as I rushed upstairs to find it

settled in its proper place, returned sometime, somehow.


Condescending in its rectitude, it glared at me in wonder

at all I had forgotten. I shuddered. It bristled.