top of page
  • Susan Stoderl

Writing Art Songs and Opera to Middle-Grade Fiction | Prairie Girl (2008) Poems III & IV

From Song Cycle "Prairie Girl" Voice/Piano

These poems were written for song a cycle in 2008, Prairie Girl. I wrote about my life as a child growing up in a rural county of Kansas sixteen miles from the Colorado border and twenty from Oklahoma. Poem V will be posted next week, and Poems VI and VII the following week

III. High Noon on the Prairie

Luminous vapors of gasoline

ascend on waves of heat.

A crow caws from the tree-threatened roof.

Parched earth stretches into eternity,

a maze of cracks.

Water dripped from a tin can

bounces off an over-baked surface.

Riverlets scurry crookedly to each crevice,

lured into earth’s center.

How easy it is to escape

if you are water.


IV. Playing Grown-Up

Two o’clock!

Throw open the screen door

One, Two, Three, Four, Fiiiiiive!

Slam! Blam!

Grandpa’s naptime,

two to four.

Mind the store.

The radio high overhead, crackles:

“The hourly news at five after the hour.

Sports! News! Livestock reports!”

News again?


Sawed-off chair to the freezer,

shinny up, reach high above.

Twirl the staticy knob.

Cheatin’ hearts

or talk, talk, talk!

How does a heart cheat?

Does it beat too fast?

Too slow?

Slide back down the freezer

and settle in to read.

Dennis the Menace, Blondie, Andy Capp

Zane Grey, or Mickey Spillane.

Cash register!

Ca-ching! Ca-ching! Numbers flying,

Coins plunked in the drawer.

Plunk! Into the drawer.

Plunk! Into the drawer.

Two thirty p.m.

. . . thirty-five

. . . forty

. . . forty-five.


bottom of page