Gwyneth Lewis


We arrived in time for the Festival of Radishes.
The city was full but we found a place
not far from the El Eden Bar
and the Jesus Barbers. Our room

was quiet but for the sound of birds.
Still badly burnt, I was able to rest
until the evening when, we followed Christ
and a toddler Joseph with a painted beard

out to the street so they could find our inn.
Mary was tired and she cried
for her mother to carry her. Down at the square
they showed off the radishes. A line

wound right round the Zócalo,
admiring the carvings. They had radish cars,
radish airplanes and radish farms –
what incarnations! – and then, best of all:

radish radishes! You know,
carved radish is translucent, like skin.
You can even see bruises, feel for it, flayed
in the crucifixion that took the prize.

We returned at dawn. The canaries’ cage
was mobbed by sparrows come to steal food,
not to keep company with pain.
Everything I’ve said so far is true.