Song of Chameleon

By Adrian Castro Adrian Castro
I have sinned in front of mirrors
But I'll say this
in my defense—
Too scared to face my indecency
the voice with a larynx
big as mangoes too—
I took your voice burnt with tabaco
They say you must first imitate
before your tongue
jagged in novice
can ripen a word
shape it along color
before words being enough
change what's before you

squeezing the bandages of injured history
when they hid your clothing
from the riverbank
slings of leather like slices
stretched along your skin
in the mood of talking drum
you remember only when they
speak from tension after all

It's time for your dissertation
mirrored cool one more color
on the chameleon's back
Time to play forgive the rainbow
your song of imperfection

Adrian Castro, "Song of Chameleon" from Handling Destiny. Copyright © 2009 by Adrian Castro.  Reprinted by permission of Coffee House

Source: Handling Destiny (Coffee House Press, 2009)

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Poet Adrian Castro

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, The Body, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

 Adrian  Castro


Poet, writer, and artist Adrian Castro was born in Miami, Florida. His work combines Afro-Caribbean myths, history, and rhythms to explore Afro-Caribbean–American identity. He is the author of three collections of poetry: Cantos to Blood & Honey (1997), Wise Fish: Tales in 6/8 Time (2005), and Handling Destiny (2009). The New York Times has praised Castro’s poetry as “a serious and seriously enjoyable contribution to our . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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