August 17, 2017 After Charlottesville

Ten years ago,
I called them Nazis.

It just kind of came out,
you know?

I’d climbed beyond angry –
how could they be
so mean,
making hate
a public policy?

I really didn’t know
the old ghosts
I’d disturbed.

I was told to shut up.
For my own good, they said.

But I was braver then.

Or younger.

Or dumber.

I kept calling them Nazis.

No worries.
I reaped
the rewards
of my mouthiness
(a little public humiliation
goes a long way).

But now,
it’s ten years later.

And this same mouth
is open. But this time,

it’s awe.

See, I was not
far off.


I wish I could gloat,
say “I told you so.”

But there’s no victory
here. Because there
still is conniving hatred
reaching up the walls
of the local dais,
leaning in close
to the mic.

Being right
doesn’t mean I win.

It just means
we bleed together.


Katherine Gotthardt

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt, M.Ed., writing concentration, hails from the Northern Virginia/D.C. metro area. She considers herself a writer by nature and by trade, having begun writing for fun as soon as her mother helped teach her to read. An active part of the literary community, Katherine is current president and a founding member of Write by the Rails (WbtR), the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club. She has been a Prince William County Poet Laureate nominee and was the winner of Inside Nova’s 2019 and 2020 Best of Prince William award in the category of author. Get Happy, Dammit: Staying Inspired and Motivated in an Often-Unhappy World received a Silver Award from the Nonfiction Authors Association. Her children’s book, A Crane Named Steve, hit number one in its category on Amazon in 2019. Katherine took first place in the free verse category of Loudoun County Library Foundation’s 2020 Rhyme On poetry contest for her piece "Discussion Topic." The Prince William Arts Council and Poet Laureate Circle awarded her the 2020 Outstanding Poetry Project Award for her leadership in Write by the Rails' Poems Around Town poetry installation. In 2021 she earned second place for "Aftermath" in a Poetry Society of Virginia national contest. While Katherine is well-known for her poetry, she also has established a solid reputation for writing articles, columns and short fiction. She is a full-time marketing writer for a government contracting company and is published in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has authored nine books: Poems from the Battlefield, Furbily-Furld Takes on the World, Approaching Felonias Park, Weaker Than Water, Bury Me Under a Lilac, Late April, A Crane Named Steve, and Get Happy, Dammit. D.C. Ekphrastic: Crisis of Faith was released in December 2020.
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