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Bitch
from Carolyn Kizer's
Mermaids in the Basement
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,
Just an old acquaintance tipping his hat.
My voice says, "Nice to see you,"
As the bitch starts to bark hysterically.
He isn't an enemy now,
Where are your manners, I say, as I say,
"How are the children? They must be growing up."
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.
"Fine, I'm just fine," I tell him.
She slobbers and grovels.
After all, I am her mistress. She is basically loyal.
It's just that she remembers how she came running
Each evening, when she heard his step;
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.
But the small careless kindnesses
When he'd had a good day, or a couple of drinks,
Come back to her now, seem more important
Than the casual cruelties, the ultimate dismissal.
"It's nice to see you are doing so well," I say.
He couldn't have taken you with him;
You were too demonstrative, too clumsy,
Not like the well-groomed pets of his new friends.
"Give my regards to your wife," I say. You gag
As I drag you off by the scruff,
Saying, "Goodbye! Goodbye! Nice to have seen you again."
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Help Publish Ursula K. Le Guin's Final Poetry Collection!

At Copper Canyon Press, we believe that poetry is vital to language and living. Contributions to the Press enable us to publish extraordinary works of poetry, discover new voices, and engage the imaginations and intellects of readers around the world. The integrity with which we carry out our mission is only sustainable because of the support of people like you. Today, we invite you to be a part of our next big labor of love: help publish Ursula K. Le Guin’s final poetry collection.

When someone like Ursula K. Le Guin chooses us as her publisher, they choose you, too. You are a necessary part of the public art of making poetry books. For more information on making a contribution, contact George Knotek, Co-Publisher, at george@coppercanyonpress.org.

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Becky Brockman-Schneider reviews
Delights and Shadows (Paperback)

by Ted Kooser

 

Thank you for making this book available -- it will remain in my personal library. Poems like "Mother," "A Jar of Buttons," "Old Lilacs," and "A Box of Pastels" are some of many to be#

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