THE BLACK MADONNA

I am from the Mohangehalia River an Indian word meaning where the silt and mud forms an embankment. 

I am from that dirt and flowing water. 

I was born along this umber waterway in Women’s Magee Hospital where my Bubba helped deliver me. 

I am from my mother, father, grandmother, grandfather and the great great great ones before me. 

I am intergenerational.

I am from the Tatras and Slovakian hillsides where women 4 feet 10 would brag about being 5 feet tall. 

I am from ornate altars, icons of the Black Madonna, sweet frankincense celebrating the departed with dark veils covering their tears. 

Stoic Souls.

I am a granddaughter from Ellis Island relatives carrying a tattered rosary worn thin with prayers. 

I am from the smell of sweaty cabbage, dark rye bread rising and strong black tea simmering overflowing with honey. 

I am from the melacholoy days of Ireland. 

I am from the old world where tea, toast and conservation changes everything. 

I am the last woman in my Matriarchal line. 

I am beginning to unravel these territories knowing my Ancestors faced so much more. 

I am redefining myself in a language I have not fully learned. 

Our stories heal the frayed narratives. 

I am translating words and painting with symbols colors handprints saying I lived here for a brief and passing time. 

I am my mother’s daughter.

I am my father’s daugher. 

I am Slovakian America that also danced with the Poland and the Ukraine. 

I have inherited my great grandparents and grandparents land. 

I am a mosaic of old ways woven into the new.  

I long for what once was. 

I am rebuilding a life.

I am breathing in the essence of all energy my Ancestors the New Ancients learning who they are. 

Learning who I am. 

This longing can never quenched. 

I heard this is how it always is for those whom are the dreamers. The storytellers. The keepers. 

I am their daughter.

— By Donna Alena Hrabcakova

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