MRS. CUMMINS, Matthew Robb Brown

Mrs. Cummins
by Matthew Robb Brown

In Baptist Sunday school she planted psalmody.
If I troubled her, she didn’t let me know.

I was glad when they said unto me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.” 

Autistic, I seemed to pay no attention to the stories;
lined up large cardboard blocks, stacked them.

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord our God; enter into
His gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise.

I drew her attention to the tall oaks, maples,
and elms that filled our wide window.

I was likely to do that kind of thing.
She said to me, “God has put them there

for us to enjoy.” How green stars unfolded
in vertical branches, how concentrated.

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. 
The flowers appear on the earth. The time of 

the singing of birds has come. Autistic, I appeared
to pay no attention to the stories; but I can't forget

Zacchaeus, hiding in a Sycamore, climbing
down from his tree to eat with Jesus.

Matthew Robb Brown earned the Master of Fine Arts in poetry from Ashland University in August, 2016, having worked closely with Angie Estes as thesis mentor, and attending Ashland’s first residency in Paris with Angie in 2015. He graduated from Saginaw Valley State University, and has been writing and publishing poetry for 48 years. He has been married to Kay Elizabeth Brown since 1982, and has a daughter, a son, and two grandsons. He and Kay live on the Maumee River in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Due to high-functioning autism, Matthew has not been involved in professional or academic careers, but has held steady employment in labor occupations.

Artistic Statement: “I am currently circulating a book drawn from my thesis, Again With the Light, a contrapuntal interweaving of themes ranging through nature, Orthodox Christian spirituality, relationship, light, and memory, that includes ekphrastic work. Poems from it have appeared in Barking Sycamores, Seeds In the Black Earth, and Green River Review. I’ve been working this past summer on a new collection, yet untitled, from which these poems are drawn.”
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About barkingsycamores 183 Articles
Barking Sycamores is a literary journal entirely edited and operated by queer neurodivergent people of color. We publish poetry, artwork, short fiction (beginning with Issue 3), creative nonfiction (beginning with Issue 8), and hybrid genre work (beginning with Issue 9) by emerging and established neurodivergent writers as well as essays on neurodiversity and literature and book reviews (beginning with Issue 10).

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