To cure my dog
of her errant ways,
I bought a vibrating collar,
clipped it around
the fat of her neck,
popped the tether’s hook
into the ring,
took her out for a spin.
See, she’s the type
that goes for the throat,
fellow canine or random kid,
it doesn’t matter.
Introduce her to a sidewalk
and she’ll find a suburban victim.
Bring her to the fields
and she’ll dangle nature
by the tail –
she’s that reactive.
They say it’s just her temperament,
her breed. Someone thought
it a good idea to introduce
Pitbull to shepherd
and facilitate a hot date.
Not my dog’s fault.
Genetics is a bitch.
Still, that slow turn
of the gadget dial,
gentle towards sting,
pains me, and I agonize,
what if I go too far,
playing some sick god
with the life of a dog?
The way we create
these choices for ourselves.
Like we’ve snapped free
of the leash,
lunging at the ones
who made us who we are.

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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