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On the Recovery of Canis Familiaris from Sputnik 2, 1957 by Bailey Blumenstock

On the Recovery of Canis Familiaris from Sputnik 2, 1957

by Bailey Blumenstock

Before the launch,

the mission scientist bathed her,

dabbed her with alcohol and bruises of iodine.

He kissed her nose.

She had played with his children.

In photographs, the hatch is open and she is posed,

or is posing, one ear folded, the other heavenward.

At launch, the saucer-sized porthole fogged with her panting.

For one hundred and sixty-three days after my father’s earth.

By the 2,570th orbit, my mother

had toddled for the first time,

the dog’s skeleton ship winking from above.

Zhuchka, little bug, so far from Moscow. Limonchik

chained to a satellite, a blip in the firmament.

Kudryavka, little curl, the mongrel cosmonaut.

Laika, they called her, dog.

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