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.
Sue Guiney is a poet and novelist, with two previously published poetry collections, and three previously published novels. She lived in London for over 26 years, but her home is now in Massachusetts where she continues to write, as well as run the international educational charity, Writing Through, which she founded in 2015 (www.writingthrough.org). Sue feels fortunate that her life and work have led her to many places across the globe, including Cambodia, from where much of her recent works is derived.