My Dad's Hair

My father is explaining that
he wants to dye his hair.
My voice is raised, indignant.

“You want to do what?”

I don’t know what prompted this.
A late night infomercial perhaps,
or the influence of his
younger colleagues, maybe.
Or, most likely,
just to be ornery and difficult.

“But Dad, your gray is so
distinguished, so becoming.”

Of course, I cannot tell my
father anything. If he wants
to dye his hair, he will.
I want to tell him that
I knew him when
he was young,
his days often spent with a
pencil behind his ear,
head full of sawdust,
waist deep in a project
almost too big for him.

Today, as he tells
me of his plan,
I notice that his
hair is the color
of burnished metal,
and his whiskers
are the tines on a rasp.
How could he betray
his gray, his gorgeous
swoop of steel, his prow,
rudder, log book?
How could he,
when his hair belongs to me
as much as it does to him?

I know this plea
is in vain.
Years may be refashioned,
even if the tools are dull.
When the job is done,
I will tell him
that he looks good,
and that
will be the truth.