Purple Toothbrush

Purple Toothbrush

      after Gluck

I like watching you brush your teeth
with your teeth in your hands. Your hands are
my favorite part of you, the part that
self-consciously covers your mouth when you

smile without your teeth. If you brushed
your teeth more often when they were still
in your head, you might still have them today.
That head should give some thought to the way

you have been doing things all of your life,
like squeezing that tube of toothpaste from
the top down, night after night, when you should have been
pinching it upward from the crimp, avoiding

waste. Watching you now in the bathroom with your
purple toothbrush in one hand, your teeth in the other,
a perfectly good tube of toothpaste in the wastebasket,
I think you are an ugly toothless wasteful thing

and I wish you would just hurry up and die
because I know when you are gone I will finally
start loving you properly, fully and completely,
and probably not before.


Paul Hostovsky has new poems appearing or forthcoming in Free Lunch, New
Delta Review, Bryant Literary Review, Visions International, Nebo, Slant, FRiGG, Driftwood, Heartlodge, Rock & Sling, ByLine
and others. He works in Boston as an Interpreter for the Deaf.