You Are What People Think You Are

Mermaid 3 - Copy

by Christian Lozada

We were tagged in Orange County.
As soon as Dad saw it,
he started working over
the graffiti with paint thinner and sandpaper
scraping until blood filled the space between his fingertips and nails
until his tan skin became brittle and thin,
tender-pink like the brick wall he cleaned.

He put himself,
blood and skin,
into erasing that primitive spell
over space and identity,
he scraped until his shoulders ached
because he had learned
that you were as much the place you lived
as what you did,
and he did not want to be poor
or brown


  1. Powerful, Christian, very powerful. I can so understand not wanting to be “brown and poor” anymore. I am in the middle of that feeling now and not wanting to leave my fellow poor friends behind. Yet I ache to move forward with my life and deeply into the life God has planned for me. “Patience,” God says, but that one is hard for me!!! I honor your father and his effort and the pathos of this poem. It is moving, touching, aspirational. Bravo!!!

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