The Vendors of Via dei Cerchi

They work in different shops
Along the same street.
They sell leather, fried dough, fruit, clothes, souvenirs,
The shops spill into the street,
Swathes of peacock and viridian, glowing plums, bruise dark figs,
Mouthwatering scents stealing down the street.
And all their lives are led
Side by side in the street.
Greeting each other cheerfully every morning
as they unroll their shops to the street.
And all day between customers
Stepping out to speak in the street
Laughing, telling stories, teasing,
In the heat, or the chill, of the street,
Each in turn performer to each other’s audience,
In the constant change of the street,
Where everything moves at human speed,
Cars sometimes crawl along the street
They make space for a moment and close up behind,
Reclaiming their space in the mix of the street.
And selling goods is a necessary interruption,
Making them turn aside from the street,
A grudging distraction, endured with good humour,
Before they return to their life in the street,
Their lives are each other.
Their lives are the street.

29th August 2023