Namaste – a poem by Nancy Knowles

            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 ToyonEastern Oregon Anthology: A Sense of PlaceTorches n’ Pitchforks; War, Literature, & the ArtsOregon East; and Willawaw Journal. Her poem “Sixth-Grade Homework” is available at and “The Only Eternal” at

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s