He asked me to put the hairs

in a small yellow box. It was plastic,

with a catch at the front that clicked

when closed.


Every Sunday, I looked carefully

at my father’s head

and plucked out the grey hairs

that hid sneakily


among the robust black ones.

He gave me twenty cents for each strand

until one day, a few years later,

the box was full


and there were still so many more to pluck.

Overcome with sadness, I said,

​‘Father, I don’t want the money.’

He then began dyeing his hair


and in the bathroom sink every week

drips of black water

revealed that father was clawing

back his youth.


Fifteen​ years later, he

has stopped dyeing his hair,

worried that the chemicals

might harm his grandchildren


whom he often rests

on his shoulders,

proud now

​to highlight the contrast.

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