The stud dog was a mangey mongrel
crawled under his fence in the middle of the night
caught the bitch in heat
who had slipped her leash
when they weren’t looking.

They should have drown the pup at birth
but it wagged its tail and breathed
on them with puppy breath
so they let it stay
scratched it behind the ears
rubbed its belly and
gave it chew toys
and good kibble
that made the bitch boil.

They taught it tricks
that thrilled onlookers
sit pretty
roll over
just don’t do it better
than the bitch herself
don’t make her lift her lip
if she snaps there will be hell to pay
play dead.

Then it happened
the cuteness wore off
it started chewing up
the toys they bought it
peed on the rug where
the bitch took her naps
ate too much
barked too loud
got too stinky to pet
wagged its tail and broke the lamp.

So they bought a choke chain
and a crate
and fenced the yard
and taught the pup how
to be a bad dog
let her feel the sting of the boot
and when that didn’t work
they spayed her passion
bought a log chain
and tied her out
the weight so heavy around her neck.

Bite down on your needs
choke on your love
shallow your talents
lick your own wounds
dig a big hole
at the far reach of your bond
and strangle as you fold yourself into it.

If they can’t find you
they can’t hurt you
under the sofa
under the bed
don’t ask to be petted
or the bitch will bite you
pin you by the neck
with her jaws
she’ll use her teeth
but she won’t have to sleep in the backyard
she’ll climb in the bed
while you sit on the porch of your doghouse
in the rain
not allowed on the good furniture.

Don’t howl or you’ll be banished to the barn.
Don’t whine or you’ll be called
a traitor to your breed.

So you try
to be obedient
follow the bitch at her heels
but no closer
and only when she asks

You become 
house broke
not to ruin rugs
not to roll in shit
to be unseen
to be unheard
good enough to lie at her feet
belly exposed
waiting for the snarl to turn
to the bite that draws blood.