This is how
I remember you,
white apron
speckled with red sauce,
spectacles on the end
of your nose,
eyes rolling heavenward
while you stifled a mutter,
“Sweet baby Jesus,
will you ever stop?”

That I didn’t
showed us both something:
I was not to be trusted.
Not with dirty pots
I’d stuck to the floor,
nor ladles I used
to mix the dog’s food,
nor noodles
I squished like clay,
squeezing them between
my fingers, al dente
sculptures of monsters
and play – no,
this was more than a kitchen.
It was a studio
for art and science.

I was too old
to get away
with any of it,
of course.
I knew I certainly
knew better,
but you were there,
half blind to my faults,
grandmother, grandma,
“Turn my head
for one godforsaken minute,
and here’s what you do…”
you’d say,
I pointing up
at the stove,
batting eyelashes
at your horrified look,
asking if now
it was my turn
to cook.

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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