by Alfred Lehmberg
A hapless female—mongrel—dog ablates in icy space... Unloved and disrespected, yet a credit to the race. She starved to death; her air ran out; she burned up, but she suffered. She was the one, the first in space—concern not made, or offered.
She's "just a dog," beneath concern of shiny *honored* man. She was so completely terrified, and she couldn't understand. Her ass was shaved—electrodes placed—this side of vivisection... then blasted into inky space, bereft of all affection.
Laika was the small dog's name I commemorate with verse. She's the one so chosen, and in space she was the first. Of all the flesh that ever was from right back to the Cambrian, she's the first to breath in space—our very special champion.
Forty years and then they choose to honor with a plaque... the sacrifice she made unasked; though it caused her death, in fact. Better late than never, but 'twould been much better still to—long ago—have placed her stone on the highest sun-washed hill.
For half a year she spun the sky, to Earth at last, ablaze. I wonder that some saw her as she burned up in the flames. Perhaps a child, chance looking up, to see her shooting star, made a wish for her own puppy as she ate a candy bar.