This was your toothpaste.
The tube still holds the contours of your fist
the last squeeze you gave it.
I wrap my hand around
imagine your grip,
the skin on your hand like satin tissue
squeezing paste to scrub your teeth.
It is a long time before I can remove the lid
and squeeze the paste onto my own brush.
Remembering your hand
it’s amazing what powerful emotions can be evoked by the simplest of things
This one works well both for what is said and what is unsaid. The squeezing fistmark is a well-chosen sign of incompatibility–or is it? The reader is called on to provide the back story of the separation, and there’s enough ambiguity that the story could go several ways. The ending, though, is unambiguous enough to pull at heart-sinew with a profound sense of loss.
It was my dad’s toothpaste.
He died July 2015. (He was almost 101!)