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About "The Colonel," in which the title figure dumps a sack of human ears onto the table from which he and Forché have just dined, Forché says that, "I had only to pare down the memory and render it whole, unlined and as precise as recollection would have it. I did not wish to endanger myself by the act of poeticizing such a necessary reportage" (American Poetry Review, July-August 1981). If to "poeticize" means to prettify, Forché's statement is unobjectionable; if however, she means that "The Colonel" is a "reportage" rather than poetry, Forché is disavowing her own very significant role in giving her experience the shape of art. That "The Colonel" has such shape can be demonstrated by quoting its last two sentences, which provide perfect closure to a text in which each word is placed with artful precision: "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," Even if we follow Forché's instructions to read "The Colonel" as "unlined," that is, as prose, the repetition in these sentences produces very formal prose indeed. And if, despite Forché's temporary banishment of lineation to the composing room, we read each sentence as a line of poetry, we discover that each is almost perfectly anapestic, thus lending special significance to the crucial disyllabic substitution that compresses the rhythm at the very moment that the ears are seen to be pressed to the ground. In the context of the volume as a whole, the image of ears has a special resonance, for Forché is continually aware of how difficult it is for one person's voice to reach the ears of another, spanning the distance of "the country between us." That her voice reaches us so distinctly is a tribute to her art as well as a measure of the horror to which her art bears witness.