Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Ancient Craft of Rug Making in Ayvacik

July 8, 2009

You could not know.
You did not see her hands,
two crochet hooks ferreting out the pattern
the pattern encoded in her hands
embedded in a silent, solitary place
as she builds the design
weaves the wool
color by color...

You could not know.
You did not see her eyes
emerging from her headscarf.
Filigreed edges.
These patterns I know
from my own Nana.
Summers in that coal town attic
adding borders to round doilies
with swirled centers,
concentric circles.
Here, in this village,
these are flowers,
planted lace around her face,
with no fear of the bloom ever fading.

You could not know
You did not see them
move from kettle to kettle
in those cotton salvar pants
that bend with your working
breathe with you
as you move from pot to pot
pants that stretch with you
grow with you
expand, even, toward birthing
And always
her skin remains hidden
beneath the folds
granting comfort,
granting modesty.

You could not know.
You did not see
the graddaughter all in white
shadowing her grandmother
cozied around her shoulders
she watches the old woman
turn a singe thread
into a skyful of color in her hands.

You could not know.
You did not see
the generations of shoes
scattered beneath the stairs,
never bringing the sole dirt inside,
abandoning the dusty layer
of moving through the world
outside the place they call home.

You could not know.
You did not see
the vats of dyes,
one simmering dandelions,
another a two a.m. blue of the night,
another blood bruised, harvested from the deepest root.
These generations of women
are village chemists
their lab a patch of land
surrounded by a mosque
with an aluminum foil dome
working with stone, stem, stick, and fire,
the formula
a knowing
in their hands...


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