April 24 – Susan Cummins Miller

Welcome to National Poetry Month and Gyroscope Review’s month-long celebration of poets – and their diverse Writing Assistants. Enjoy the audio/video works by previous Gyroscope Review poets and be sure to check out the Author and fun Writing Assistant Bio at the end of each NPM poet post. Don’t forget to tag the poet on Social Media and let them know you enjoyed their work!

The News the Rocks Know

The News the Rocks Know
 [Gyroscope Review, Fall Crone Power Issue, p. 51]

Grand Canyon, Inner Gorge: A midsummer dawn.
The deep luster of new-fledged scarab beetles bumbling 
into cliff walls and tent screens through which I trace
the filmy edges of the morning star, visible 
through a gust-broken whirlwind snaking 
down the canyon. Part of me observes
the staggering transformation as pillars of light 
invade the depths, revealing a template of angled crags 
bisecting the sky. Nothing soft. Nothing rounded. 
Understand the call of four hundred million years 
of perspective—news and clues locked in traces 
of ancient life, in deformed rock fabrics: 
the hardness of time, turning, turning, turning, 
calling me forward to explore to the last gasp. 
Grab hat, stick, daypack. Descend a path 
through the silence of millennia, the emptiness of ages, 
stolid, impervious. Below, the river roars—waves 
lapping landscape redder than the Supai sand 
collecting in the lee of sculpted boulders. I can’t 
imagine a life empty of this planetary 
exoskeleton, bronze-black mafic keel 
of bedrock. The overlying skin, fossils hiding 
within. The whole an eloquent pattern scorning 
short lifespans, rearranging understanding. 


[The Write Launch Journal June 2, 2023 
(online: https://thewritelaunch.com/2023/06/the-magic-hours-tucson-mountains-lacuna-and-cenzontle/)]

Standing in the cleft, fingers
tracing the Great Unconformity. Missing 
time in the stone diary of seen, felt, touched, 

known. Farther afield we measure 
sections of rock strata, date 
them with fossils and decaying elements. Interpret,

correlate, construct a fence 
diagram of overlapping columns—an elegant 
Parthenon that almost, almost 

succeeds in filling that gap 
in time. But within the remaining 
empty quarter—the millennia 

of eroded or never deposited 
earth history—lies the locus 
of imagination, of story.


I metamorphosed from a geoscientist into a writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry after moving to Tucson more than thirty years ago. The single most important influence on my poetry is the constantly changing Sonoran Desert outside my window.



Tucson writer and 2023 WILLA and Spur poetry awards finalist Susan Cummins Miller, a former field geologist, paleontologist, and educator, is the author of two poetry collections (Making Silent Stones Sing and Deciphering the Desert), seven novels, and an anthology of women writers of the American frontier. Her poems, short stories, and essays appear frequently in journals and anthologies, including the recent Trouble in Tucson and SoWest: Wrong Turn. www.susancumminsmiller.com

Don’t forget to read the Spring 2024 Issue of Gyroscope Review.

NPM 2024 Poets

April 1 – Cal Freeman

April 2 – Susanna Lang

April 3 – Marion Brown

April 4 – Melissa Huff

April 5 – Elaine Sorrentino

April 6 – Alison Stone

April 7 – Alexandra Fössinger

April 8 – Laurie Kuntz

April 9 – Dick Westheimer

April 10 – Wendy McVicker

April 11 – J.I. Kleinberg

April 12 – Ellen Austin-Li

April 13 – D. Dina Friedman

April 14 – Connie Post

April 15 – Georgina Key

April 16 – Judith McKenzie

April 17 – Jacqueline Jules

April 18 – Amanda Hayden

April 19 – Lisa Zimmerman

April 20 – Richard Jordan

April 21 – Beth Kanell

April 22 – Kari Gunter-Seymour

April 23 – Jane Edna Mohler

April 24 – Susan Cummins Miller