Running a Tab by Christian Hanz Lozada

When Brown Dad dies, I will have debt

because he spent his life accumulating it

never knowing how to pay it back.

The degrees I have earned were paid for with his money

because “Lolo paid for mine. This is how I pay him back.”

The Rolex on my wrist was his hand-me-down

because he sacrificed presence for work.

When Brown Dad dies, I will inherit his ghost.

He will remind me what I owe him

and cannot pay. The degrees I have earned,

deferred a generation from Lolo is left to my never-kids.

The Rolex on my wrist will remind me he tried and tried 

and tried, but it wasn’t enough,

or maybe it was me.

Maybe I wasn’t enough.

Christian Hanz Lozada (he/him/they) is the son of an immigrant Filipino and a descendant of the Confederacy, so he knows the shape of hope and exclusion. He co-authored the poetry book Leave with More Than You Came With from Arroyo Seco Press and the history book Hawaiian in Los Angeles. His poems and stories have appeared in Hawaii Pacific Review (Pushcart Nominee), decomp., Rigorous Journal, Mud Season Review, Dryland, among others. Christian has featured at the Autry Museum, the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, Tebot Bach, Beyond Baroque, and the American Library Association President Inauguration. He lives in San Pedro, CA and uses his MFA to teach his neighbors’ kids at Los Angeles Harbor College.

Twitter and Instagram: @poetloz

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