Viable

It’s the connotation that matters:
Something feasible
turns preferable,
enhanced commodity
made critical,
spun up in significance,
passing as more important
than it is.
You see it in online ads,
these viable options,
leather seats that heat,
easy-clean granite countertops,
or waterfront property that percs,  
streaming us a longing,
spies invited in.
 
Maybe that’s what the word really means –
espionage,
big data traipsing about,
tracking our cookies and cache,
picking up the crumbs
of our everyday,
following us home.
I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist,
but we all know it’s true.
It’s gone beyond the possible,
climbed the six-foot fence
of privacy and hopped right over.
No number of German shepherds
can keep it
from running quickly,
tree to tree,
hiding from the sensor
of the backyard light,
treading like a good mystery,
leaving no footprints.
It sneaks into the window
left accidentally unlocked.
 
There we are, asleep,
mouths open, drooling.
And there’s our wallet
on the nightstand,
a few stray coins on the floor.
That’s us, dreaming.
Just wait ‘til we wake up.

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. Katherine 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. Her poetry and prose book Get Happy, Dammit: Staying Inspired and Motivated in an Often-Unhappy World received a Silver Award from the Nonfiction Authors Association. Katherine's children’s book, A Crane Named Steve, hit number one in its category on Amazon in 2019. Katherine then 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 Katherine earned second place for "Aftermath" in a Poetry Society of Virginia national contest and the regional Seefeldt Award for Arts Excellence in the category of Individual Artist. She won first place in the Virginia Writers Club statewide Golden Nib contest in the poetry category for her poem "Kayak." 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, Get Happy, Dammit and D.C. Ekphrastic: Crisis of Faith.
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