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.
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