Pamela Arlov

Night Flight

I take a running start
like a plane building speed on a runway,
then bend a knee and leap.

Icarus, I am sure, flapped doomed wings
as wax melted and feathers fell.
Not me. I am Superman. Momentum carries me up
Until I am ready to glide, arms serving as wings.

Funny. Even Leonardo got wings wrong.
In The Annunciation, an angel, arms to the front,
blesses the Virgin with two raised fingers.
On his back, two small wings that wouldn’t even
heft a turkey vulture stand at attention.
But vertebrates get four limbs, tops.
So even for angels,
it’s arms or wings, fingers or flight.

In my waking hours, I am happy for the fingers.
But at night, the easy ascents, the dips and glides, the sure-footed landings
whisper of primeval forebears, not crawling from the seas
but dropping from the trees.

Janus Cat
(Dreamed after an Aunt’s Alzheimer’s Diagnosis)

The two-headed cat
from the attic slides
through a trapdoor in the closet,
a hidden part of me,
genetic legacy.
One head looks back,
a state-of-the-art processor
sheathed within its skull.
The other turns empty eyes to the future,
Its brain tangled with plaques,
a labyrinth with no exit.