by Arthur Powers

(The Road To Castelo—Brazil 1971)

Down from the pine groves and granite
of the pass at Venda Nova, we take
the jeep along the twisting dirt road,
winding among hard gray fists of stone
outcropped from tight green pyramids
of mountain, Vadi beside me tensed
like a tendon, Zé Augusto in the back
rolling with the road, the air cold
on our windblown faces, headed toward
a place none of us knows, early morning
sky bright blue high above us, quiet
crisp clear day, until a certain turn,
a gentle wisp of warm air: far ahead
the road descends to distant palm trees
and the hills open slowly like a hand.


Arthur Powers went to Brazil with the Peace Corps in 1969
and lived most of his adult life there.  From 1985 to 1992, he and
his wife worked in the Amazon, organizing subsistence farmers
and rural workers’ unions in an area of violent land conflicts.  
They subsequently directed relief and development programs in
the drought-ridden Brazilian Northeast.  Powers received a
Fellowship in Fiction from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation,
three annual awards for short fiction from the Catholic Press
Association, and second place in the 2008 Tom Howard Fiction
Contest.  A collection of his short stories, set in Brazil, is
forthcoming from Press 53.   

On “Finding”:
In 1971, I was a 23-year-old Peace Corps Volunteer, helping
to organize a rural electrification cooperative in the mountains
of Espírito Santo, Brazil.  One day, two Brazilian friends and
I—all living in the same small town—took a road over the
mountains to Castelo, another town that none of us had visited
before.  Like many journeys, it was a finding, an unfolding.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 7, Number 2
(Fall 2012)

Copyright © 2012
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

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Valley Review
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