Shutting Down

This cannot be
my America.
Where bloated power
stuffs rags in the mouths
of servants, weakened
because some bastards removed
their food and means,
leaving them to live on charity.
Sympathy. This cannot be

my America. Where smirking young men
mock Veteran elders on t.v.
and the image of a crying native elicits
no longer compassion, empathy,
but gleeful insolence. Antipathy. This cannot be

my America. Where brothers
and sisters live in toxicity, any
proximity too close to bear, where
at the hint of a humble budge,
excuses for grudge whip out
like handcuffs, bruising the wrists
of potential peacemakers. This cannot be

my America. Where images are
Agent Orange, and you better watch news
with the sound turned down.
Better yet, mute it. You never know
what you’ll hear next. This cannot be

my America. This cannot be
my country. This cannot mean
what it means
to be free.
Or me.


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 focused on content development and content 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 and is Editor in Chief of Prince William Living magazine.

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