(Rio de Janeiro, 1979)
The gray cemetery wall stretched half a mile along the dark paved street, pools of light forming here and there over the sidewalk where a few street lamps were working. Cars swished along the street occasionally, their headlights picking out the people standing in small groups on the sidewalk along the wall. More cars were pulled over to the curb, where the small groups stood gathered around bundles of burning candles, the light from the candles making even smaller pools of glowing light.
“You have everything?” Inés asked nervously. It was the third or fourth time she had asked since they’d left the Rocinha slum, where Inés lived with Dona Ana Rosa’s family.
“Calm down, girl,” Nilza answered. She pointed to the plastic bag she was carrying. “It’s all right here. We just have to find the man with the chickens.”
Arthur Powers and his wife have lived most of their adult lives in Brazil. They were lay missionaries with the Franciscans in the Amazon and lived in Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, and Recife. Mr. Powers received a Fellowship in Fiction from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation and several prizes for short fi ction from the Catholic Press Association. His work has appeared in America, Kansas Quarterly, Roanoke Review, St. Anthony Messenger, Southern Poetry Review, Texas Quarterly, & many others.