Harp & Altar

Andrea Baker was the recipient of the 2004 Slope Editions Book Prize for her first book, like wind loves a window. She is also the author of the chapbooks gilda (Poetry Society of America, 2004) and gather (Moneyshot Editions, 2006). Raised in Florida, she now resides in Brooklyn, NY, where her apartment is small and entropy upsets her.  She maintains a Lyricism Blog at andreabaker.blogspot.com.


Jessica Baran has a BA in visual art from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry writing from Washington University in St. Louis, where she currently resides.


James Gallagher’s collaged images have been shown in galleries across the world and have been spotted in Arkitip, in J&L Books and Die Gestallen publications, and on fancy linen tea towels. He was born and raised in the Midwest, but has now lived most of his life in New York. His work can be seen at www.gallagherstudio.net.


Elise Harris has written for the New York Times Book Review and the Nation.


Stefania Heim is co-founder and co-editor of Circumference: Poetry in Translation. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including The Paris Review, The Literary Review, and La Petite Zine. Her review of Elizabeth Willis’s Meteoric Flowers was published recently in Boston Review.


Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Kane is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Pittsburgh. His work is forthcoming in McSweeney's, and his translations of Tomaž Šalamun’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Harvard Review, Chicago Review, Crazyhorse, and Denver Quarterly.


Eugene Lim lives in Brooklyn and works as a librarian in a high school. “Product Placement” is an excerpt from a novel in progress called Loop. His writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Boog City, sonaweb, and elimae.  He  became fiction editor of Harp & Altar after the publication of the first issue.


Jill Magi is a 2006–07 writer-in-residence with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Program. She is the author of Threads, a hybrid work of prose, poetry, and collage forthcoming in fall 2006 from Futurepoem Books, and Cadastral Map, a chapbook published in 2005 by Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs. Prose, poetry, and visual works have appeared in HOW2, The Brooklyn Rail, Jacket, CutBank Poetry, The New Review of Literature, Aufgabe, Chain, and Pierogi Press, and are forthcoming in The Tiny and Second Avenue Poetry. She runs Sona Books and teaches literature and writing at The City College and The Eugene Lang College of the New School.


Michael Newton is currently at the Cranbrook Academy in Michigan, pursuing a master’s degree in visual art. He likes art a lot.


Cameron Paterson lives in rural North Carolina.  He is currently a graduate student in classical philology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Lily Saint is a lapsed poet. While she awaits the return of her muse, she is working toward a dissertation at the CUNY Graduate Center.


Tomaž Šalamun lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and is the author of more than thirty collections of poetry. The most recent English translation of his work is Blackboards (Saturnalia Books, 2004).


Joanna Sondheim’s work has appeared in canwehaveourballback, sonaweb, LitVert, Boog City, Bird Dog, and Fishdrum, among others. Her chapbook, The Fit, was published by Sona Books in 2004.


Paul Winner has entered his final year of divinity school in New York.


Michael Zeiss lives in Woodside, Queens. This is his first published story.

Caligula in the Dormers
Thomas Kane

The chaste girls sharpen their

teeth.       (They      are     post-

traumatic when they sharpen

their teeth.)


*        *        *        *        *        *    


Once   separated,  the   dancer

unloves  his  shoes.  They  are,

to  him,  dust  and  from  dust,

bread.  He thinks: The  mill  is

bread  and  the  mill’s  rain  is

bread also.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


And so  we  do  not  forget  how

(and   how!)   the  chaste  girls

cull    the   animal   from   the



*        *        *        *        *        *    


As  the  fish survived the first

bad  news but  not  the age  of

sails.    How   we    longed   for

their gills. My  parasol  for  a

gill!   The  third  perch, a  gift

for our mothers. The third set

of scales,  a gift  for our boots.

To  imagine!  To  imagine the

restraint  God  once  asked  of

our hands!


*        *        *        *        *        *    


The  chaste  girls each have a

rock,  a  taffeta  gown to  keep

their secrets.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


A tender tangle,  how we rifle

the pocket of  every dying. As

Gericault  at  the sanitarium:

Byron hated his horse. Byron

also       found       his      horse

irresistible.     And    yes!     A

dinner   hat   folded  into   the

pocket.  Although   a   freckle,

imagined  resting,  imperfect,

in the fold.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


The chaste  girls are  fierce in

their hatred of  the wet nurse.

They rush  and  rush  to  grow

nearer their finger cut gloves.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


If  a  child  came from  me, we

would    know   what    of    my

father   stayed   put:   Cat  gut

pulled  to fit around the pegs?

Breath    enough   to   meet   a



*        *        *        *        *        *    


And  I  remember,  if   a  child

came from me,   I would  be as

Robert Frost  would  today  be

good    police.   His   chin   and

blue  suit!  He  takes his lunch

in  the  penny arcade,  among

the   fountains   in  the  penny



*        *        *        *        *        *    


For us, nothing is ruined. The

chaste   girls   are   not   fixed.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


In a moment,  we will  give up

what about  us  is mechanical.

But   for  now,   we  are   busy,

busy  as   planets.   It  is  Lent.

Everything  is  our hands. We

do not drink the river because

we have bled in it.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


The chaste  girls pry  the roof.

There    is    a   little   princess

under the shingles.  How they

read  the book of  songs  is how

she  washes in  the dark  (by a

guess whistled by a wren).


*        *        *        *        *        *    


Asylum  for   Shirley  Temple!

She    was   found   inside    her

Sunday     shoes     inside    the

parade. When  she danced, we

almost   did   not    notice  how

badly    she     needed    a   new

career,  a  hot water bottle for

her tired skin.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


The   chaste  girls   are  never

pleuritic.          They          are

sometimes    fed   from   their

mothers’ mouths.