Namaste for Carly Sachs In my heart, there is a tree called Chora, and when I visit my heart--so rarely--the tree stands up, unfurling her branches like long whips and the leaves rustling open. I have to lean away at first because she is massive and tall, but then I come in under her branches. She is rooted in the earth’s molten core. Her branches go everywhere, connect to everything, caress the sky. I feel shame in denying her, not even knocking at the door of my heart to see if she is home. No one can take her lightly, and I have not had time to be serious. When I gave birth to my daughter, my hips clenched like a fist, and in the necessity of life, my whole body has been clenched. But that is Chora, too, the strength of the hour again and again and always. Now, I want to unclench, to rebalance, to welcome the strong inner self it takes bravery to recognize, dedicated not to daily cares but to the distance, that reaches happiness and into and beyond death.
Nancy Knowles teaches English and Writing at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, OR. Her ghazal “Be Still” earned an honorable mention in the Oregon Poetry Association’s 2019 Spring Contest. She has published poetry in Toyon; Eastern Oregon Anthology: A Sense of Place; Torches n’ Pitchforks; War, Literature, & the Arts; Oregon East; and Willawaw Journal. Her poem “Sixth-Grade Homework” is available at http://wlajournal.com/wlaarchive/29/knowles.pdf and “The Only Eternal” at http://willawawjournal.com/category/journal/willawaw-journal-winter-2018-issue-5/page/5/