Paula Harris

Poetrynz29

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
maybe
i'd buy a new toothbrush
and
maybe
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

mmm-hmmm

and tried
to breathe
properly

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

First published in Poetry New Zealand (2004)

Paula Harris

About Paula

Paula Harris lives in New Zealand, where she writes and sleeps a lot, because that's what depression makes you do. She won the 2018 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize and the 2017 Lilian Ida Smith Award.

Her poetry has been published in various journals, including Berfrois, Queen Mob's Teahouse, Barren, SWWIM, Glass, Diode, The Spinoff, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook and Landfall. Her essays have been published in The Spinoff and Headlands: New Stories of Anxiety (Victoria University Press).

She is extremely fond of dark chocolate, shoes and hoarding fabric.