Comment on The Colonel and see more Carolyn Forche poems below.
What you have heard is true.
I was in his house.
His wife carried a tray of coffee and sugar.
daughter filed her nails, his son went out for the
There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol
on the cushion beside him.
The moon swung bare on
its black cord over the house.
On the television
was a cop show.
It was in English.
were embedded in the walls around the house to
scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his
hands to lace.
On the windows there were gratings
like those in liquor stores.
We had dinner, rack of
lamb, good wine, a gold bell was on the table for
calling the maid.
The maid brought green mangoes,
salt, a type of bread.
I was asked how I enjoyed
There was a brief commercial in
His wife took everything away.
some talk of how difficult it had become to govern.
The parrot said hello on the terrace.
told it to shut up, and pushed himself from the
My friend said to me with his eyes: say
The colonel returned with a sack used to
bring groceries home.
He spilled many human ears on
They were like dried peach halves.
is no other way to say this.
He took one of them in
his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a
It came alive there.
I am tired of
fooling around he said.
As for the rights of anyone,
tell your people they can go f--- themselves.
swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held
the last of his wine in the air.
Something for your
poetry, no? he said.
Some of the ears on the floor
caught this scrap of his voice.
Some of the ears on
the floor were pressed to the ground.
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