The army and the Colonel


There is a knock on the door and the door is wooden and the knock sounds like the door is wooden and I know that there are men with guns outside. Sally is the youngest and she has circle eyes and soft tanned skin.

Sally opens the door because she has been taught to open the door when it is knocked. Sally is short because she is only four and she points at the tall army colonel who is at the door with his army men and she is pushed hurriedly aside.


The army men come into my house with guns and the army men fire their guns and the women who are my daughters scream and the women who are my wives shriek and my hounds begin to howl and we are all restless under the roof.


We are the army, the colonel says.


The ten army men search my house and the ten army men make loud noises with their boots and the ten army men smell like they have slept in the woods for very many days and they have eaten squirrels and rats and made themselves into animals that do not smell good.

You men do not smell like men, Beatrice says. Beatrice is the oldest of my wives and she wears scarves in the afternoon and she sits in the chairs on our porches and she sees the sun set while the others are occupied.

We are not like the men you know, the Colonel says and begins to load his shotgun but the lieutenant has returned and now the lieutenant whispers to the Colonel and the Colonel begins to smile—slow like he does not know that he can smile, then quick like he is a king.

You have kept them in the basements sir, the Colonel says and the Colonel is looking at me.


The colonel has hands that are marked by cuts and there is blood on him that is his blood and there is blood on him that is not his blood and he smokes cigarettes from soft white packs and he coughs and stares with blue eyes that have grown tired in the latter days of this campaign.


We are not all under this roof. I have not heard the whispers of my sons since the early morning. There was rain in the night and the rain turned the dirt roads to mud. You have brought mud into my home, I tell the army.


My sons walk out of the basement in chains and the Colonel looks at me and, again, like before, he smiles.


We are unrested. I am left blind on all fours. There are screams in the house. Without my eyes, I do not even know if I am saddened.


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