Two rivers define my life. Both are murky, deep and cold. In the Balkans, the Drava - in Africa, the Nile.
Their waters possess pieces of my soul, tiny fragments like shattered crystals scattered over their bed bank, their floor.
There is a mahogany tree on our farm planted by mama's shaky graceful hands, yet it grows strong and proud. A shadow it casts against the African sun.
Another, this one walnut, embraces a cobblestone yard in my grandparents' home. Grandmother brings in apron-fills of walnuts, cracks them with a hammer and her grandchildren gorge.
In Africa everything is warm.
In Balkans, cold.
Africa heaves and unfolds. Untamed drums beat, golden-skinned women ululate... dancing- henna flowers on their feet. Cloves and dead mint leaves swirl in teacups, English biscuits for tea are served and the muezzin calls. A dervish, swathed in his pea green robe, twirls and twirls unaware of the heat... of the oncoming sandstorm. A mad artist's palette of colors imbues every corner here, every home.
The Balkans, they ring like the stirring of that melancholy tamburitsa, like a valiant sparrow's call. Plump old women in scarves and aprons, crochet doilies. Young girls- all long limbs, silken blonde hair, rule the city like Balkan goddesses from dark forests that are no more.
Cherry blossoms fall like a fairy woodland snowfall- but in spring. Apple strudel. Tulips in plastic bottles, heart shaped red cookies on a china plate... plum brandy. Guests are coming.
Heaven calls for prayer when the cathedral bells spread their majestic call. These are the things that adorn many Balkan cities, many homes.
I want to sing my grandmother's folk song but paint henna flowers and hearts on my feet.
I want to strike my feet into the Balkan kolo dance but gyrate passionately to the thud of an African drum - in the distance.
I want to call both Africa and the Balkans my home....
is an American author and writer born in the former Yugoslavia and raised in Africa (The Sudan) Her writing can be found in The Missing Slate
(UK), New World Writing
, The Journal of MicroLiterature
, When Women Waken Anthologies
), and I Am Subject -Anthology
among others. She currently lives in Dubai.