Last Updated September 5, 2023.
In the poem, "Bitch", by Carolyn Kizer the speaker runs into an old acquaintance and has to confront the feelings that arise when seeing this person.
While Kizer never mentions the names of either the speaker or the person the speaker runs into, readers can inference that the speaker is a woman and the old acquaintance is an ex-lover, possibly someone with whom the speaker had an affair. The old acquaintance is simply referred to as "he."
The title of the poem as well as uses of the word in subsequent lines implies the gender of the speaker. The double meaning of the word "bitch" — a female dog and a disagreeable woman — work metaphorically to also imply that the speaker had a past relationship with the unnamed acquaintance. In line 29 she writes, "He couldn't have taken you with him; you were too demonstrative, too clumsy; Not like the well-groomed pets of his new friends."
The line that immediately follows implies that the speaker was this man's mistress, "'Give my regards to your wife,' I say."