‘The Colonel’ by Carolyn Forché

This story (or, again, prose poem) contains the simile that made me fall in love with similes. It felt like a magic trick that a tale about a genocidal dictator and his victims could contain, at its darkest moment, peach halves. I’ve been chasing the strangeness and surprise of that image ever since.

Originally appeared in Women’s International Resource Exchange. Collected in The Country Between Us, HarperCollins, 1981. Widely anthologised and available to read and listen to here