SEEDLINGS, Matthew Brown

by Matthew Brown


Just exploded from their bombs, ball-and-chain acorns still
attached, something about white oak seedlings felt like a
quintessential expression for me. I wanted to see them and have
them be seen. I dug them easily at vacant land under old
oaks and a red wagon corralled them to be my own. The 
puzzle-fit scallops and sinuses of leaves, adjacent, tessellated 
whorls, almost corals, covered two feet of square ground next to
my parents' stoop. These were my first book of poems. They
embarrassed my sisters. But Mom and Dad held silent thinking
perhaps what little trouble this was compared to what might be.


This stump in the forest let me think of that time. A mountain 
miniaturized, shining with verdant, incarnadine wintergreen;
open-palmed seedlings. Cedar groves of club moss finger these fungus 
cushions on an organpipe of branches. Congregations of mosses 
wave colored placards at the subtle eye up all its sides. Nearly
an interior, a mirror of an interior landscape, it's no creation
of mine.


There was the albino horsechestnut in a flowerpot some kid brought 
for show-and-tell or maybe it was the teacher but it came out that
this ghost of a shroom-colored chestnut, still drawing on its umbilical
nut, could not long live – for unlike Johnny Winter, who was not 
heard of yet, Johnny that albino man who in his cloud of hair stroked 
a guitar blue as his foxfire eyes into the night – it could not go on 
once the nut emptied. For a tree unlike a man cannot eat, must make 
food through its skin out of sunlight but without green chlorophyll 
cannot. Then I began, or rather continued, to meditate on this strange 
self-contradictory world, the only world I knew.
Matthew Brown has been writing poetry for over 45 years, and is currently enrolled in the master of fine arts program in poetry at Ashland University. He discovered he had Asperger Syndrome after his daughter told her life story to a college counselor, who then suggested that her dad might have Asperger’s. Online research as well as personal and family reflections confirmed it, although there is no official diagnosis.
This past spring Matthew, with his wife Kay Elizabeth, participated in the first-ever Paris Residency of the Ashland University MFA program with Angie Estes, which was a rewarding and beautiful experience, being only his second time and Kay’s first overseas. He expects to graduate next August.

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