Snarling, snapping, eyes wide
As he lunges at my wheelchair.
Each frostbite bark rises,
defensiveness a frozen mist.
“He hates wheels,” she says, tugging the leash.
“Stop, bad dog.”
But body contorting, he tugs and twists,
eager to break free.
Not angry, but scared; hair raised, teeth on edge.
I take a different path because I know the look—
Canines bared as if to smile,
but it’s the eyes that give them away;
sclerae shouting fear, cowering behind inane yelps:
You got a driver’s licence for that thing?
Slow down there, speedy!
Can I hop in your lap?
So frightened that my wheels will come too close.
And if they do, what then?
Will they get me?
Will the sound of wheels dog my steps?
Yap yap yap the thoughts away.
Build a wall of sound between themselves
and my chair.
They just hate wheels.
Leanne Charette writes poetry grounded in her experience of disability. Her work has been published by the League of Canadian Poets and has appeared in the 2022 Festival of Literary Diversity Program. She lives in Kitchener, Ontario with her husband and twin sons, surrounded by many houseplants.