Two Poems by Eric Fisher Stone

Laika the Space Dog

Alone, she entered an abyss
bejeweled with blue giant suns,
white dwarfs, black holes, quasars
and nebulae like clouds of gnats
in the deep, the clockwork spin
of galactic arms across all dreams
as Laika, the Soviet space dog
was launched into heaven
for the Motherland and reached
the tonnage of night without food
or water and died, memories stirring
of chasing fireflies through sweet grass,
her hot breath lost beyond worlds,
Earth’s scent wisped to her brain
until her last thoughts began:

Look, there’s a darkness
and the blue globe is dimming.
I wish I could take the Earth in my mouth
and run with it across the stars
where my grave is laid in a bed of stars.

Here without hares or foxes
life is bigger and blacker
than I thought it could be, my paws
like wings floating in this gray car
where I’ll die lonelier than snakes
and drown in night’s deep river,
crossing the boundaries of touch
without stone or soil to walk on.

People sent me to the forever
where no flowers open smells,
only glittering specks blossom
and sleeping I dream of dogs
running over glaciers, chewing antelope,
chasing shaggy brown beasts, their tusks
like sharpened moons—I carry
my kind’s history to the end of ends.

Howling towards shadows’ outer layers
my ghost is fleeing to the world.

Dying I will come back, Yes, I’ll taste
tender air and amber sunlight
back from immensity. I’ll climb
the rainbow’s stairs earthward
back to green shoots and streets
cobbled with hardness, back from the timeless
seabed of space to the churning ground. Back.


Poem for Bobby Fischer: 1943-2008

Nothing soothes pain like human touch—Fischer’s reported last words

The universe scrolled on, stars like spurs
in heaven and northbound geese swept
over Reykjavik where he played
C4 for the first move of game six
and where he died bearded and schizoid
as King Lear, an anti-Semite loved
by his Jewish mother. At fourteen
he was the American chess champion,
a high school dropout, and afraid
the government read his thoughts
through tooth fillings. Yet

he stood like a kraken risen
above white whales drumming in the deep,
a god rounding islands with his will
while galaxies burn and wheel
their dreaming work on his grave raging
Icelandic poppies from the earth,
the sun’s wellspring soaking glaciers,
his rooks, knights, kings and bishops dance

in memory, before we, like all
who lived, wither heroically
vulnerable in our last nights
while our tears rust into frost
and the ocean rolls over its deep bed of stones.

About the Poet

Eric Fisher Stone lives in Fort Worth, Texas where heI graduated from Texas Christian University and work at a PetSmart. He is an incoming graduate student at Iowa State University’s MFA in Writing and Environment. His poetry has appeared most recently in Borderlands: Texas Poetry ReviewZetetic: A Record of Unusual InquiryEunoia ReviewNew Mexico ReviewUppagusYellow Chair ReviewTurtle Island Quarterly and Third Wednesday.