Showcase: #KatherinesCoffeehouse by Katherine Gotthardt

Katherine Gotthardt, M.Ed |  #KatherinesCoffeehouse

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As the creator of #KatherinesCoffeehouse, Katherine Gotthardt has earned the honor of having her own page on this website as a superior writer and Guest Contributor.  Find her here also:

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Award-winning writer and author Katherine Gotthardt hails from Northern Virginia where she pens poetry and creative prose. With nine books to her name – one a Silver Award winner from the Nonfiction Authors Association, another a #1 Amazon New Release – she uses proceeds to support non-profits and community initiatives serving the disadvantaged.

Katherine is a founding member and current president of Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club, a member of the Poetry Society of Virginia and a member of the Prince William County Arts Council. For more information, visit

Katherine Gotthardt - Author

Katherine has been featured in the popular magazine Prince William Living. Read her series, “Get Happier, Dammit” at BristowBeat.

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#KatherinesCoffeehouse ~ Haiku ~ Theme: Tea

I’m counting my years
in ounces. How fast teacups
pile up, drained and stained.


I’m in hot water
again, pouring tea into
your forbidden cup.


You drink from a jar,
tea leaves drowned at the bottom.
You’ll leave them there, too.

Imposter Syndrome

by Katherine Gotthardt

Somewhere here,
we’ve got the trophy,
proof we’re not “one of them.”
You know who we mean.
The guy twirling the sale sign
out front by the furniture store,
red arrow pointing the wrong way.
But what does he care?
It’s less than minimum wage.

Or the day laborer waiting for work,
fingers black from soil and cigarettes,
jeans barely held up by a cracked belt.
Certainly we’ve bested that, yes?
Moved beyond our fathers’ humble
lip smacking and smiling,
mouth open like people with bad teeth
aren’t supposed to do?

We hide our own mouths behind our hands,
in case the floss missed a speck of spinach,
in case the whitening didn’t work,
in case a drop of spittle hurtles
like a meteor into the space between us
as we mispronounce our ordinals:
Third Place and Fourth, unacceptable.
Fifth doesn’t exist, and unless you’re first,
don’t bother mentioning in polite company.

This is the shame of inheritance,
of being born in a no-name hospital,
raised in a working-poor town,
reminded in writing, “You can do better.”
You better do better.
And we have done better. Right?

There’s a trophy somewhere that says so,
a plaque engraved with our worth,
thin line of cursive
(names misspelled, but so what?)
declaring we’re “better off.”
We’re living in strata where diplomas,
degrees, certificates and seals
still mean the difference between
earning a decent living
and plummeting.
“We did what we could for you,”
say our elders.
“We gave you all we had.
It’s up to you to fly.”

No wonder we can’t tolerate failure.
No wonder we cling to perfectionism.
No wonder we hold on so tightly,
like life depends on our fragile ability
to hide the “we-might-be-a-fraud,”
terrified of our own thin skin.
The world demands we win.