By Gabriel Spera

No, you don’t get nine lives,
but you do get the chance
to start over from scratch—
that’s why we have such claws.

And if you do get a chance
at the whole ball of yarn,
dig in with all your claws—
the warm lap, the soft caress,

the whole great ball of yarn.
What holds us best never holds us back.
If you want that warm caress,
let go the stone you’ve been carrying—

sometime what we hold holds us back.
Free your hands to grasp something lighter
than the stone you’ve been carrying
breathlessly through time and space.

Free your hands to grasp something lighter—
after all, all that rises must fall
breathless, through time and space,
landing nonchalantly at our feet.

Everything that rises must fall—
asleep, apart, in love.
Somehow, we land on our feet.
Sometimes, we get it backward:

we love, we part, we sleep.
It takes courage to admit
sometimes we get it backward.
That’s what we are: flawed and beautiful.

It takes courage to admit
something helpless into your life,
however shy and beautiful.
I’m ready to be brave.

When something helpless steps into your life,
then yes, you get another life.
Are you ready to be brave?
Let’s start again from scratch.

Gabriel Spera has published two award-winning books of poetry. The first, “The Standing Wave,” was a National Poetry Series selection and also received the Literary Book Award in Poetry from PEN-USA West. The second, “The Rigid Body,” received the Richard Snyder Prize. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Los Angeles. His work appears widely, in print and online, and was featured on “American Life in Poetry.” Imagining what a cat might want to tell us from the spirit world, Spera wrote “Silent Paws” for Mutual Rescue’s Memorial Montage.