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A Teacup's Worth of January Sundays

     Natalie Tombasco

upon a hum, I housecat around

in the pink and red of my mother’s bed

with mint tea against my thigh.

hurrah! warmth! plump with bliss

as Bowie’s “Modern Love” plays in

a black & white movie & the smell

of cinnamon, coriander, bread rises

from the kitchen. we are tilted in solstice;

daylight glimmers like couscous,

swallowed up behind chimney smoke.


how quick the stinking pink goes off

leaving behind a rose-strewn path,

a lukewarm calm. beyond the window,

unto hedges of white, a shovel scrapes

against the sidewalk in sad rhythms

before the dark intrudes. whenever

it’s this cold, I think of a past boyfriend,

a pap smear: the cold clamp which wrenches

one wide-eyed. I still flinch at the unspecial sex.

I think of her miscarriages / before me,

after me / & why we’ve invited in ache.

under dried-out azaleas, through her smoke,

I wonder, as another snow comes to heal us,

if mother ever lies down like this.

Natalie Louise Tombasco was selected by Kaveh Akbar for the Best New Poets anthology 2021, Copper Nickel's Editor's Prize, and as a published finalist for Cutbank Books chapbook contest with her manuscript titled Collective Inventions (2021). She is a PhD candidate at Florida State University and serves as the Interviews Editor of the Southeast Review. Her work can be found in Gulf Coast, Black Warrior Review, Plume, Hobart Pulp, Fairy Tale Review, Peach Mag, The Rupture, Puerto del Sol, among others. Find out more at

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