Your Face

Rachael Joseph

I saw your face today in a photograph taken when you were old.
Old like a grandfather, not young as I remember you.
Your eyes looked dark and stern as if they had never seen joy.
Smiles had not wrinkled the corners of your mouth.
Your hair so white against the blackness of your skin.
You wore a patterned shirt, unbuttoned.
The once toned body you were so proud of,
Now boasting an old man paunch.
Still strong, you held two small children, one in each arm.
They smiled for camera. You did not.
It seemed to me age had not softened you.
I saw your face today for the first time in fifty years, and
I became a frightened child again. I cried.
I cried for all the years I spent trying to forget.

*Tales from a west Indian childhood, Morgan’s Eye press 2020.
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