Laurie Kuntz

If I Had a Cat's 9 Lives 

 

I would live the first three to hide

under the bed, in the laundry room,

or under the Volvo parked 

in an unpaved driveway.

 

When it came time for me to shed that

scary cat skin,only because someone kind fed me,

I would venture across lawns to hunt.

 

Perhaps the next few lives would be lived

close to where I hid, but a tad more in the open

letting strangers extend a tentative hand 

for me to brush against.

Then perhaps, I would let them scratch my nose.

 

In my fifth life, 

I would take to the alleys 

and mark my territory

allowing no one in, 

and sharpen my claws 

against the tired oaks.

 

Then skinny, hungry, and winter weary, 

I may purr those lingering last lives

in a home where children pull at my mangy tail, 

while I am skittish on catnip.

 

But, that ninth life, 

I am saving for you,  

who have crossed borders,  

witnessed well, lived fruitfully,  

and know the importance 

of a warm and welcoming lap.

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