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The Whimsical Life of Madame Croque

Natalie Louise Tombasco

                                                                                                                                                                 after Monica Youn

not much different from mister     she carries an egg     she is French in her stench

     with thin brioche-legs     gold strolling smears     of Grey Poupon and well-to-do

at night an accordion     follows her into a roux     “but, I’m more than a sandwich!”

      objects mademoiselle     still her lovers insist     on her dolled up in béchamel

sure, she’s got frills     wears tulle filthy as swine     not a perfume in the world

      to guise the reek of brine     dirty little miss with a soul     glued together with fromage

her boss sniffs out her stink     pays her an unwanted massage     “you were asking for it”

      his grounds for a grope     she spends Sunday in bed     buried in bars of soap

“daddy issues are delicious”      dead-eyed on the parquet     on empty park benches

      cracking up like crème brûlée     thought tales end lighthearted?      a godmother’s toast?

she darkens into a midnight snack     all wants had been poached     her body was foodporn

      poor madame croque     swallowed piece by piece     when she had been hungry

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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