in a stack of
black and white photographs
i search for your face

on a hot day in
february 1964
when a white buick waits on a
winding, dusty road
somewhere in akwa ibom

the parched shrubs and
sun-bleached road
communing their boredom, waiting
for your girlfriends to
get inside the car

while two, stylish young men in the front seat
rev the engine and
tune the radio to high life

there is another girl
clad in a white polka dot tank top
who has just handed off her camera and is
cutting a line back toward the car

(a moment after this picture is taken she will turn and shout
"but i told you to wait!"
and they will have to snap another one)

there is another girl, no more than twenty
standing behind the car
whom i cannot see so clearly

i think it is you, but
she appears like a
a lone head with a jet black afro
and the same
gap-toothed smile
dark amber-colored irises
that are my own

perhaps it is my own image, like a
reflected off the shiny Kodak paper;
your face,
burnished by the hot sun to a
deep bronze, and
your teeth shining bright

years after your father died, but
still before the war
you are all joy
eternal hope

(on the back of the photo you wrote:
Veronica, Alicia and their friends.
They took me on an evening ride in their mother's car

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