Karen Hannah

Karen Hannah is a poet and the founder of Zumbar Press. Her own poetry, reviews, projects, or sound files can be found in Telephone, feedbag, Little Red Leaves, Open Letters Monthly, Delirious Hem, and Fulcrum Annual. Last year, she slowly transitioned into a new career within the wine industry in order to gain wine certification so that she could apply her teaching background to wine education, with a focus on urban wineries. She divides her time and interests between wine education, letterpress printing, and poetry, working to bring all three of these interests together. She currently resides in the land of San Francisco.

when you and I are understood


         Yoo-ryung, you are tattooed with bruises
         an iridescent skin whispers in ripples,
         how you didn't accept our embraces.
         You want to translate a brush, a nudge
         as familial.
         Still acquiring ghost appendages.
         Still learning how to speak foreigner.
         How an accident in touch can cause
         the skin to glow, to radiate with other

Ѡ


                  This is how we hold hands,
                  I yawns shapely syllables
                  and we both fear a new language.
                  This is how we wear matching shirts,
                  I daydreams inside the den of your stare
                  and we both question an innocent act.
                  This is how we love link our arms,
                  I releases her stomach muscles
                  and we both worry about our physique.
                  This is how we touch openly,
                  I journals a conversation with personal space
                  and we both forget how bare our shoulders really are

Ѡ


Speak our skin away, yoo-ryung.
Be exhaled breath softening our body
so in passing, we are passing through.
A foreigner's touch does not exist
since to speak is to touch.
An unguarded stare is felt
and whiteness is extracted.
We can wear innocence to avoid self
and no one would question y(our) actions.
Am I without responsibility?
If you will, then I am.
So, what is ghostly now?
We have not become other, yoo-ryung.
Our whitening is an awakening.
We can not exist for you.

Ѡ


We hold hands without touching,
I is in quiet mental absorption.
We are family before we are married.
Our thumbs press firmly against each other.
We wear each other without knowing,
forgetting to try on ourselves.
We are everyone's partner,
passionate about family.
We do not take each other's hand from an urge,
but from urgency.
Ours is an auspicious holding.
A handshake is a handhold, a kiss.

Ѡ


We bruise ourselves so that you may pass
beneath our blood, yoo-ryung.
Why can't you understand that I
has always been migrating through,
housing every impurity,
to keep your blood clean.
Migration is a dirty act.
We keep our blood close
Yet, you needled me inside your family.
to keep I from barring y(our) way.
In this way, are we family?
In you is we, and here, I wants to settle,
but it is natural to migrate through each other.
Still, in passing though, you confuse the way
our blood aspires to be pure.
What blood are we when you and I are understood?