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How small we must have looked to you
from way up there. Our true, cruel humanity
evealed as we rocketed you skyward.
Yes, it was too good to be true. Too sweet
a deal, like the homemade Russian treats we fed you,
patting your lil’ naïve head all the while.
We were too rich a dream for your Moscow
street smarts—your canine instincts told you,
warned you, not to offer your heart up to us.
We, of the unworthy in our rich garbs, in our
monstrosity. You should have run far from our gifting
hands offering morsels of food, clean bowls of water,
kind smiles that curtained centuries of extermination
for your kind. You should have run quick or bit
our fur-lined gloved and devious hands.
Did the Soviet children emerge out of their rigid,
gloomy schools, amid buildings grey as that November
sky to watch it swallow the 6 ft. capsule man built
especially for you? In our haste, with Eisenhower
and his America fast behind and catching up,
there was no time…
little laika (little barker) heralding in our space age
on that shameful day. I can still see you, crying
frantically out the porthole, as we, on our round planet
ball escaped your muzzled grasp. Paws burning
on the floorboard, dog suit overheating, there was
no time to devise a way back for you.