Susan Cummins Miller’s poem grew out of her interaction with the Sonoran Desert, and the many months she spent in solitude and contemplation at The Desert House of Prayer, a silent retreat center on the outskirts of Tucson. Desert House, the setting of this poem, closed last March, a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no guarantee it will be able to reopen.
Pandemic Aubade, Sonoran Desert
May the constant song
of the mockingbird, the thrum
of hummingbird wings, the droning om
of bees in the palm, the scents
of pungent salvia, sweet mesquite
and wavering candle smoke carry
my wellness prayer for you
into the rain-washed summer sky,
into the silence beyond the gods.
Susan Cummins Miller
Tucson author Susan Cummins Miller is a recovering field geologist and college instructor. She compiled and edited A Sweet, Separate Intimacy: Women Writers of the American Frontier, 1800-1922, and is also the author of the Frankie MacFarlane, Geologist, mysteries. Miller’s poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including 2020’s What We Talk About When We Talk About It: Variations on the Theme of Love, v. I, II, and the forthcoming Unstrung and The Write Launch.