Swampy Woman is called an Alpha-bitch.
Then she is called an Alpha-Bitch grinning,
with canines flashing. She counts to five
on the rings on her fingers before she attacks.
But that is enough time to absolve him.

She seldom gets angry. Sometimes she gets
revenge. Just for fun. She is the brightest
star in the constellation. Moths gather
flitting white wing talcum on her black
coat and hat. Feline fur. Canine, too.

She strides down streets in a hazy blur
of mixed pelt. If it rains she reeks doggy.
It is the time of the Moon of Falling Leaves
and she scuffs in the maple gold looking
for woolly bear caterpillars to fetch home.

She gathers squash, carrots, and celery root
from the cold root-cellar to chop and stew.
Out her back window, a commotion of blackbirds
across an O’Keeffe sky suddenly disappears
into a cottonwood. Bell-tone trills give them away.

Alpha-bitch. Her hackles rise. In the end,
feeling a skosh testy after all, she climbs
a rocky hill back of the woods and curls herself
into the den where half-grown spring pups
lick her face and name her grandmother.


LISA J. CIHLAR's poems have been published in The South Dakota Review, Green Mountains Review, In Posse Review, Bluestem, and The Prose-Poem Project. One of her poems was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Her chapbook, “The Insomniac’s House,” is available from Dancing Girl Press and a second chapbook “This is How She Fails,” will be published by Crisis Chronicles Press in 2012.  She lives in rural southern Wisconsin where she plants tomatoes, garlic and peas.  She has had a peacock and a pig run through her yard.  The pig was big and scary.  She claims to be an excellent cook.

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