Lives of an Oushak

by Elaine Greene Weisburg


There’s a building in the Twenties where
scores of Persian Jews
sell old mid-eastern carpets,
carpets that I love.
Once when I was shopping there
I happened on a circle
of rug men saying prayers.

The Oushak in my bedroom I gaze at every day.
Its geometric forms
spelled out in muted grays and blues
lie on a field of salmon red–
as warm to the eye as its wool to bare feet.
Accents of blackish brown are discreet
as is a flickering orange note.

Whose rug was this long years ago?
Whose broken window blind
allowed the sun to fade
that narrow three-inch bar?
A Turkish imam? An artist from Spain?
And whose turn is next in this ownership chain?


Elaine Greene Weisburg spent about twenty years each at House & Garden (Conde Nast) and House Beautiful (Hearst) as design reporter and features editor, eventually editing a memoir column and two memoir anthologies.