August 17, 2017 After Charlottesville

Ten years ago,
I called them Nazis.

It just kind of came out,
you know?

I’d climbed beyond angry –
how could they be
so mean,
making hate
a public policy?

I really didn’t know
the old ghosts
I’d disturbed.

I was told to shut up.
For my own good, they said.

But I was braver then.

Or younger.

Or dumber.

I kept calling them Nazis.

No worries.
I reaped
the rewards
of my mouthiness
(a little public humiliation
goes a long way).

But now,
it’s ten years later.

And this same mouth
is open. But this time,

it’s awe.

See, I was not
far off.


I wish I could gloat,
say “I told you so.”

But there’s no victory
here. Because there
still is conniving hatred
reaching up the walls
of the local dais,
leaning in close
to the mic.

Being right
doesn’t mean I win.

It just means
we bleed together.


Katherine Gotthardt

Katherine Gotthardt, M.Ed., writing concentration, has been writing, editing and teaching for more than twenty years. For the past ten years, she has earned a living through content development and marketing. Besides being published in dozens of journals, Katherine has authored six books: Poems from the Battlefield, Furbily-Furld Takes on the World, Approaching Felonias Park, Weaker Than Water, Bury Me Under a Lilac and Late April. She has been nominated twice for Poet Laureate of Prince William County, VA, received InsideNova's 2019 Best of Prince William award in the author category and is Editor in Chief of Prince William Living magazine. Katherine serves as president of Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club.

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