Suvaco do Cristo

by Olivia Dawson

Close your eyes as you embark
         in Rio, bask in the blast
of scorched tyres, a whiff
       from the sea, stinking fruit
from brazen cannonball trees.
       Gag at open landfill
worked over by pickers, sniff
       your first caipirinha and gasp.
Peep through groggy lids
       to the potpourri of huts
that hang tipsily from
       encircling hills where Christ
pulls you like a sleepwalker
       into the incense of his arms.


During Rio Carnival, a street party called ‘Suvaco do Cristo’, or ‘Christ’s Armpit’, parades through the streets to celebrate the huge statue of Christ that looks down over the city.