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Natalie Louise Tombasco

after Claire Wahmanholm

R is for reign and razzle-dazzle, red carpets and rockefellers. For rotten apples with no redeeming qualities. For rhinestones and rolling papers filled with goldenrod. For the ruby slippers that were regifted and confused Home for Reno. For where everything is as retro as rice pudding, and retellings about red hens are read by Republicans. For red scare in the realm of overripe heirlooms and russets that grows in rows. For rummage sales that line streets like a running stitch. For the rabble-rouser in lieu of a gold-star recession. R is for the raconteur who tells of ravines that show little remorse in the face of a rain dance. For long-earred rabbits lugging around a kingdom’s worth of regret. For Rapunzel revealing a tunnel behind a poster of Raquel Welsh; for road sodas and retail therapy. For the risk of fathers who give daughters away for enriched ritual. R is for remembering his name. For Rumpelstiltskin, the noteworthy recycler of cans and bottles and straw. Only he can turn rain into a gold rush. If only the spinning wheel could thread a ruin shut.

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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