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AR #58 Cover
number 58

P O E T R Y
by Kristine Snodgrass

Dog Star

We can only pray in this time of aloneness and suffering that God will be merciful and speed the end. This voiceless cry of mercy, as this satellite spans the Earth, should be long remembered as the symbol of the torture the animal world must go through. And I don't mean to be facetious at all, but something to be remembered is that there is a female up there circling Mother Earth.

--Miss America, 1957, on the launch of Sputnik II, which carried in it a dog who was called Laika.
We are connoisseurs of loss that we reply
so easily: she is not dying.

She will not live to see my generation,
how pits fall out of plums.

No she is not dying; she is walking
out onto the grassy yard and claiming

it for what replies back, that echo of
the stars when they wail.

She is not dying: yet she is still pretending to
die, as I do, giving myself a horse to tie

to a trough, or a Dog Star to manipulate in my fingers
(between the forefinger and the middle.)

It is the death of the Dog Star
and the summer plums and the grassy yards--

they sing all night long, their sound
muting out the shrill of the blackbird,

whose sin, after all, is survival.

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