Susan Gunderson

What I Want


I want to be adopted by this woman
counting ears of corn,
weighing tomatoes,
her smile full of humor—she knows 
I know little about produce. 
I want her flashing brown eyes, 
different from my faded blue,
her chocolate skin speaking of Mexico,
mine too pale for the sun,
remembers only Scandinavia.

I want to be part of nine children, 
three times as many grandchildren so
different from my only child childhood
my no children adulthood. 

I want to grow food when I join this family, 
showy crimson tomatoes, hefty squash, 
sell them to people like me 
people who have no idea how to grow food. 

One day she tells me the price in her language. 
I smile and announce I don't speak Spanish.
To prove this I rattle off my entire vocabulary. 
Buenos Días, Buenos Noches. 

Her smile widens, 
her eyes sparkle as we 
stand next to the tomatoes burnished 
in the low-hanging afternoon sun. 

Buenos Tardes, she says, 
waving at the sun. 
Now is Buenos Tardes. 
Maybe Spanish lessons will be enough

—Susan Gunderson

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