It's absurd, this deafening ring,
as if I'd put my ear by an air raid call,
let the sound in, allowed the assault.

The results are astoundingly inconsistent -
deaf to the voice of my husband,
overly sensitive to the wail of t.v.
What was that you said, honey?
Ouch. Please turn down the volume, 
switch on the subtitles. I'd rather read. 
One might accuse me of hearing selectively.
I wish that were a possibility, 
allowing in only subtlety and sense,
those things that delight, 
like good music, conversation, or poetry. 

Instead, this high-pitched drone on its own frequency,
so loud I wonder how it stays in my head,
barraging only me with distraction and irritability,
hard pressed against my eardrum and humanity. 

Is this the way life will be? 
Wasn't it solitary enough just to be my own person?
Tell me you hear it, too.
Please don't leave me. 

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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