Fully Vaccinated

by Sheila Wellehan

Dogs can go feral
when they’re lost a few weeks,
constantly on guard and scared
as they search
for food, water, and shelter.
They stay alive by avoiding danger.
But surviving alone changes them.
Don’t be surprised
if a lost dog flees in panic
when you try to help her.

I’ve been alone more than a year,
diving deeper and deeper
into myself. Isolation
has turned me feral.
I scream. I fight.
I confront strangers
over magnified slights.
They say it’s best
to socialize dogs slowly,
so I just go out at night.

You can smile,
but if you talk to me,
I’ll growl.
Don’t get too close –
I bite.

Sheila Wellehan‘s poetry is featured in The Night Heron BarksRust + MothThimble Literary Magazine, Tinderbox Poetry JournalWhale Road Review, and many other journals and anthologies. She lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.

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