Gagarina II, or the starry darkness

Image-of-Vostok-1_mission_patch Saucer

It rings in intergalactic space, not even an answering machine. Like he doesn’t exist, that his place of work doesn’t exist – in the MIR station, the Russian cosmonaut who’s been orbiting for the past 107 years, drinking his lukewarm tea from his bubble pack, finding anything and everything a good laugh, he sticks his lips on to the kiss of the lukewarm water, on the swollen sides of the shrinking bubble, as it goes down his oesophagus because of the combined action of sucking and swallowing, thus creating a depressurization of the surface of the liquid. The tea-time cosmonaut glances at the blue planet, he could drink up its oceans, spinning on and on and righting himself, only the earth to look at, or the starry darkness, with neither top nor tail, the big black dragon spitting out flames for nobody …

Marie Darrieussecq, A Brief Stay with the Living (Faber 2003, translated by Ian Monk).

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