Chameleons

Now that my parents are gone
the voice inside
has changed to something
less disturbing
but I am still the strange chameleon
caught in different lights.
In childhood
I believe I was their colour and their light
before I took on different shades
to match an outside world
where they were only shadows
of the people they had been.
I never saw their real colours
I only asked myself
why they were so washed out.
Now that they are gone
I see them differently.
I see them young.
I see them in the people who have come
with other children.
Despite the camouflage
I spot chameleons in my class
the shades of shyness
the flash of angry reds
the old confusion about
the shape of us.
Now that my parents are gone
I tell myself the stories
that I hardly listened to
in a time of growing up
when I was
only half at home.

GR61_front.websiteOlga Pavlinova Olenich
Griffith Review 61, 169-170.

3 thoughts on “Chameleons

  1. Those shifting, changing parent-child relationships! The poet has beautifully
    caught how they sometimes/often come full circle after maturity. I also
    relate so well (through observation of students) to the child’s likeness to the chameleon – desperate to fit in, merge with the group, while not knowing which of those chameleon forms is realliy his/her true self.

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