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Word Count: 348
I want them to smile at me Those nonnas whom I pass on sidewalks They are everywhere wearing babushkas and black podiatric shoes carrying groceries I peek through their plastic bags-- vino sancto castagne filetti di acciughe HmmmIntriguing And their shoes how do they have such tiny feet I am captivated by this population of Italians They speak many stories without even opening their mouths ButI want them to I want them to know that I notice I want them to smile back Im used to smiling at old people when we pass one another on the street In factI seek this out But when I got to Italy-- people dont do this They dont smile at each other on sidewalks Or--am I missing something Maybe they dont see me Maybethey are turned off by my blue jeans and height I must be twice as tall as some of those nonnas Maybe to them I am a terrifying mythological Amazon An Amazon fromAmerica Where they have no gun control and an idiot president Mama mia I try to put myself in the imaginations of old ladies as I pass them on the sidewalks Maybe if I can understand them they will see me But what if they think itsbrazen for me to smile What if it is rude to look directly into the eyes of elders Oh mio Dio But every once and awhile she smiles back a nonna as I pass her At first she was surprised that I smiled But no I wouldnt say that she was displeased And shereturns the smile Her face lights up sometimes even revealing a less than complete set of teeth Full of character and originality she is a truly beautiful sight Surely asbeautiful as any painting I studied in art history that day Though they might deceive you with their cult of babushkas and marshmallowshoes there are no two identical nonnas
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