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Song of Chameleon

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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

Now
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
tighten
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 Press.www.coffeehouse.org
Source: Handling Destiny (Coffee House Press, 2009)
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Song of Chameleon

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