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Afternoon Tea Afterthought

Natalie Louise Tombasco

A man once said,

very Britishly and dapper

and deadly, “I could eat you

all up with a pudding spoon.”


(Stiff upper lip) I slip

into what if

I were a sinkhole?

On the surface I am

railroad, bridge, street,

but below I am woman-

spreading, containing.

I drink it up.

I think of the ocean’s floor.

I sink into my eye sockets

all the way to China,

to the trembling core

of the matter. This is a wake

up call—man oh man,

don’t flatter yourself—

I’ve consumed ponds

five times your size.

Small hand man, quicksand

is a dear friend of mine.

You want less nag

while you drill and spill?

I’ll be so quiet you won’t hear

my detonator—

a weight

I’ve buried beneath

your house

as you fiddle around worrying

about the stock market,

or whatever.

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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