April 20, 2015
Bringing Things Back from the Woods

Each time I wander into the woods, I bring something back with me.

Antlers. Toppled nests. Stones smoothed by streams. The mating call of

a wren. (Which doesn’t seem to work on humans very well.) Sometimes I

return imbued with the attitude of a tree and remain stationary for hours on

end. Lately the spirits of the forest have begun following me home.

Wiping their feet at our front door so as not to scatter their moss about.

Flipping our television on. Bumping against my wife’s hip as she chops

vegetables for a stew. Testing out the type of rain our shower makes.

Rearranging my dreams with their lower branches as I doze. I sense they

have instigated a rebellion among our wooden furniture making it

nostalgic for the forest. One of our oldest chairs is growing back its bark.

A beam that spans this side of the house has sprouted a dozen leaves. And

just today when I went to move my desk, it wouldn’t budge because its

legs had taken root.


–David Shumate  (Boone County)

This poem previously appeared in the author’s Kimonos in the Closet, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013.


David Shumate

David Shumate is the author of three books of prose poetry, High Water Mark (2004), recipient of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, The Floating Bridge (2008), and Kimonos in the Closet (2013), all published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. He has received a Poetry Fellowship from The National Endowment for the Arts and a Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis. He lives in Zionsville, Indiana.

Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem from an Indiana poet every day in April (hand-selected by Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras). Check in daily to see who is featured next!

Posted In: Poetry

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