and it was at that age
that I stood in the alley
on my way to my sister’s
November the third

that night full of wonder
seeing nothing and
an orbiting dog called
Laika whose name means
bark and whose bark

must itself a be a star
or quark and whose death by heat
the Russians hid for years
as it might have made them
look weak and cruel
on the anniversary

of their historic revolution
their manifest destiny
as inevitable as all underdogs rise
with clenched jaws,
or go under,

at that one-off moment
when I shivered
by the bins
with the fact of myself
lost in space,

but alive
unlike the dog Laika,
up there, kennelled
among constellations,
heroic and still
revolving, like precious
dirty washing in a shaking machine.