When I remember you,
 I want you to remember me,
 not as I am now, but how it used to be,
 through the narrow opening of time,
 back to those days
 running fast from the open faucet:
 afternoons in the kitchen,
 the way you’d wet your finger,
 run it around the edge of the crystal bowl
 just to hear it sing,
 or find the beveled jelly jar, 
 fill it with the right amount of water,
 touch the side with a spoon to make music.
 You smiled, saying I was your only fan.
 Table and counters were not off limits.
 There was even that hour on the floor,
 linoleum pressing against my tailbone.
 How you looked at me, concerned I was cold. 
 After, we clinked champagne glasses. 
 You held yours by the stem, as if it were a flower,
 blew on the mouth of the empty bottle,
 bringing it to life with your very breath.
 Somehow, you forgot to inhale.
 I had to remind you to take back what you’d given,
 lest you forget yourself, suffocate 
 as I’ve done in memory, 
 as I’ve done in fantasy, 
 standing at the sink,
 rinsing out tumblers, 
 believing you might come back.
 Yes, that must be love.

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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