The Loss Adjuster – by Ken Cumberlidge

Dog food

Orthodoxy has it that it eases over time.
Like fuck it does.
Not yet, at least.
Just changes tactics.

it filled your vision,
dodging, dancing unavoidable
between your mind and every simple needful action:
tearing at you, hungry, urgent, passionate – this, your new lover

and …OH!
how gratefully, how eagerly
you self-surrendered to its kiss,
a kiss so full and drowning deep
it stole the air from every breath
to bring you – gasping, quaking –
to a place you scarce believed existed;
there at last to leave you, gently:
weak and soft and sated.

it keeps its distance,
feigns indifference,
waits in corners, silent,
watching for the perfect off-chance:
some sweet pause in which you
gift yourself
the tiny luxury
of thinking ‘Hey – this is OK…’

Then it’s on you,
at you,
has you by the throat
iron-fisted, tightening,
pressing you to wall, to doorframe
– any suitably unyielding surface –
(plain reality will do);
there to bring you – rasping, choking –
to a place you know only too well now,
know it by its very darkness,
prayed you never would revisit;
there still yet to keep you,
hostage-meek and subjugated,
till it’s done with you – is spent –
and you are rent,
left in your own mess:
a silent gaping retching ache
the only fact between your
and a windowsquare of
solid empty sky.

Reach for tissues – wipe away the traces.
Pick yourself up – straighten out your clothing.
Make a mental note – you still need





Birkenhead-born recovering actor Ken Cumberlidge has been writing and performing poetry, songs and stories on and off for 40+ years. Since 2011 he’s been based in Norwich, where he can be spotted most days, muttering and gesticulating in the company of an embarrassed-looking dog.  Don’t worry – the dog’s fine.

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