Originally from North-East England and now living in London, Deborah Finding is a queer feminist writer with a background in academia and activism. Her poetry has featured in fourteen poems, The Alchemy Spoon, The Friday Poem and anthologies from Live Canon, Renard Press, Victorina and Fly on the Wall Press. She came first in the poetry category of the Write By The Sea Literary Festival Writing Competition 2022, and was commended in the Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2022. Her debut pamphlet vigils for dead and dying girls is forthcoming from Nine Pens.
you explained to me that amortisation
is the depreciation of non-tangible assets
which are things like goodwill and loyalty
and relationships you can depend on
it’s a complex calculation to figure out
what these things are worth, the factors
that add to or detract from their value
and how quickly they can be lost
but I want to try, I always did
I can show my workings out,
in your spread sheets, under which
we did, to an advanced level, excel …
I write this as addictive additive, also
when you said you would love me
all of the days. like infinity plus one
but plus one was the problem
which leads us to the minus column
your creative accounting of her
to me, to her of me, every evasion
a reduction of your credit score
and now we disagree on the answer
I show you a number in the red
you tell me of future investments
and paint me a unicorn valuation
but it turns out amortisation is just
the process of slowly writing off a debt
on paper at least. so consider it
done, books balanced, no net gain
loving you was a zero-sum game
My therapist told me to picture you as a scorpion
in a guided meditation, in which she had me imagine –
in a very visceral way – crushing you to death
with my foot, till you were nothing but shit and dust.
Now, I know what you are thinking:
surely a real therapist would never suggest such a thing!
but to be totally honest with you
she is somewhat unconventional in her methods
and only the week before this
she had asked me to imagine finding a grave
and looking down to see your lifeless body
in the deep and open dirt –
the knowledge of your death
giving me back my own breath
which I'd been holding all these months
terrified that I could see you on every corner
your dark hair swinging behind you
in front of me
a kind of ponytail PTSD.
I wish I was joking.
Anyway, back to you as a scorpion, did you know
it’s said they're viciously venomous for no reason?
Have you heard that fable about the frog and the scorpion,
that ends with the scorpion saying, it’s in my nature?
Well, I don’t believe that shit.
I don’t believe you were born like that
to sting for the sake of it. But it doesn’t matter
because you are that now
and you should be approached with extreme caution
and protective clothing, if at all
and I learned the hard way
that anyone who would keep a scorpion for a pet
is a fool. There’s an urban myth
that if you light a circle of fire around a scorpion
it will sting itself to death
horribly … for a long time
I thought about how I could set your world on fire:
trap you in a prison with only your own poison
for company, and glass walls and spotlights
for all to see who you really are.
I texted your name so often
that my phone still wants to gift it to me in autocorrect
whenever I type the first three letters
but this is progress, because for a while just the E would do it.
One day I hope I can look at your name
in black and white
or even meet someone else
with it, and not hate them on sight
and though today is not that day
I know it must be coming.
I don’t think of you so much now
and I wear a scorpion earring.
Not every day
but on those mornings where I wake up shaking
or when the offence of an injustice
is simply overwhelming.
It helps remind me that it’s ok
if a battle is too bloody to fight,
that self-care sometimes means you don’t get to win
even when you’re right
and the day I grew up
is the day I understood
that the sun shines just the same
on evil and good.
Ah, scorpion …
despite all I learned about you
it’s not in my nature
to claim you have no path to salvation
but it does bring me comfort to know
that at any moment
any enemy can be crushed
if only in imagination.
today I did not want to write about desire
I had loftier plans for worthier topics
some notes about injustices and a page
already half-baked with an idea about a town
but you walked me home last night
after dinner and before you took a cab
so now my hands are your hands thinking
dextrously of the five delicious minutes spent
kissing you in the rain, our cold wet faces
in refreshing contrast to our hot wet mouths
tongues tasting intoxicatingly of our desserts
and of not having kissed each other for a week