by Carolyn Forché
Analysis: What's Up With the Title?
From the get-go, you know this poem is going to be about a man of high position, somebody who is not going to let you forget that he's above almost everyone. It's interesting that he doesn't get a name, just a title, a title that is the title of the poem. Maybe Forché wants his power to seem a little generic. He's always referred to as "the colonel," so he's made into an object, not a man, but a position. He acts in the role of power, without personality or physical description. In that way, the poem's title reminds us that it's dealing not so much with one crazed maniac, but rather a whole system that would put people's lives under the control of an individual with the power to indiscriminately end them.