Tell us about your book, The Insomniac’s House.

It is a chapbook about a character called Swampy Woman. I wrote a poem a year and a half ago and it had a person in it called Swampy Woman. Some time went by and then she showed up in another poem and I became enamored with her. The poems poured forth for quite a while after that. I wrote one almost every day for a month and then I was done with her as fast as she had begun. I have written a couple of more since then, but the flood has become a thin trickle.

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.


By Lisa Cihlar


This is the day that pain made. A spiral shelled snail creeping over shattered glass shards from a mayonnaise jar, dropped by a boy child. It spilled ants and sand and twigs across the north-side algae green walkway which is always slippery and more so in the rain. This is the day that pain made. A spiral shell edging along the blacktop where winter salts, spread by the man, have yet to succumb to spring showers. This is the day that pain made. A spiral inching under emerging spilt milk hosta leaves where the woman sprinkled diatomaceous earth. This is the misty slime trail that pain left.