Two Poems

by Karen Breen

Volt(a)/aic/age after Anne Marie Rooney’s “Overture”

The lighted blue. Swell. The third return. The locals
croqueting at the park. No one in gazeboes w/o cigs. Bright-finding
& heat. I have not withdrawn. When I remember, I smack
against square hoops. Mallets that sent me: their sphere. Bent fingers pinched

between two of me, always. Who lives. There. The other one. Sugar that glitters
the wax. Pastel which. Is neon, been neoned. The sun-glossed lip.
Of hibiscus. Rock salt. Sea. Shells piercing feet, dead stop. Has the pointed end

knifed the red clay one. When/where/how. Not sweaty. Hardwood ribbon. In brown hair,
pinked, unknotted, untendered. Captioned to sinister --> sinistered. I was frozen there
from the film grain

Beach Greaser

while the world out there boomed,
i was here: clouded, swirling, soft.

while country music started swelling
the same as vaporwave swells:

pink caddies in all translations of sugar,
jeans pulled up to my nipples,

blanched in the face of some skateboarder
boardwalking, bony androgyny of light

to register in the periphery,
reeling in too-long strands of hair

as the bluegold bruise on my lip says,
fuck it, let’s away—something smart like that.

i am nowhere to you. because i don’t know 
how to talk. just like that: it’s all nowhere,

whispering in the photos i could not take:
in them, coral on my doorstep.

in hand, a memento back-thenning
to wood panels and sea glass.

i don’t feel the way i did. never could
speak the language.

Karen Breen is an Oklahoma-based poet completing her MFA at the University of New Orleans. The 2018 recipient of the Laura A. Rice Poetry Prize, her poems have appeared in Granola; Leopardskin & Limes; and Datura. She is also UNO's 2022 nominee for the AWP Intro Journals Project.