Ann Eichler Kolakowski
TRIOLET FOR LAIKA, FIRST DOG IN SPACE
They sealed your steel sarcophagus;
they made no plans to bring you home.
(Perhaps they thought you Anubis.)
They sealed your steel sarcophagus
and let you burn—like Sirius,
the other dogstar in the dome.
They sealed your steel sarcophagus.
They made no plans to bring you home.
—from Rattle #40, Summer 2013
Ann Eichler Kolakowski: “I didn’t start writing or reading poetry until the age of 33 (I’m now 50), when my father died and I found myself channeling bad poems as a way of processing his loss. This set me on a journey to learn and practice poetic craft that recently resulted in my earning an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. One of the strengths of that program is a focus on form, which I accepted somewhat begrudgingly but have grown to love. ‘Triolet for Laika, First Dog in Space’ started as a villanelle, which I chose for its circular, repetitive nature—a form that seemed befitting of a spacecraft. A wise person challenged me to revise it as a triolet, which is even more confining (but very rewarding to solve). Laika was a stray who was chosen for the mission because she had been especially eager to please during her training sessions. The Soviets had planned to poison her several days into the flight with tainted food, but she died of overheating and stress hours after the launch. Poor pup.”