Last Updated September 5, 2023.
"Now, when he and I meet, after all these years, / I say to the bitch inside me, don’t start growling. / He isn’t a trespasser anymore. . . ."
This quote is about releasing anger. The narrator was wronged by this man, but she must remind herself to stay calm, as he holds no power anymore. In Kizer's poem, anger is represented as an angry dog the narrator struggles to control. This attests to the struggle of controlling the anger one harbors.
At a kind word from him, a look like the old days, / The bitch changes her tone; she begins to whimper. / She wants to snuggle up to him, to cringe. / Down, girl! Keep your distance / Or I’ll give you a taste of the choke-chain.
Even after a great transgression, the narrator finds her anger dissipate into a desire to be close to the man again. This is a common response for many people who are betrayed by a loved one. Here, the dog is threatened with punishment, which mimics many peoples' tendency to punish themselves when they find they miss the person who wronged them.
How she lay at his feet and looked up adoringly / Though he was absorbed in his paper; / Or, bored with her devotion, ordered her to the kitchen / Until he was ready to play.
This quote gives the reader insight into the relationship between the nameless man and the narrator. It was a manipulative relationship in which the man expected subservience from the narrator. He expected his wishes to be met. Otherwise, the narrator was ignored and undervalued.