Dream 1, Dream 2

Hedina Tahirovic Sijercic

Dream 1

I am in my Romany Quarter

In Gorica, on Dajanli Osmanbega Street.

I am happy.

Ragged children around me,

The happy, tattered, neighbourhood Romani children

All around me.

I am happy.

I have many glittering candies

Dirty little hands reach for them

Warm black eyes yearn for them

Pretty red mouths devour them

All the Roma are in the Quarter

No one works

As usual.

The surroundings are beautiful.

Women’s bright Turkish pantaloons sweep by

As do men’s old, colourful shirts

Barefoot children running barely-clad,

with warm Romany hearts,

among the garbage,

amid the poverty.

Dirty, dusty, poor, bright, and happy.

Many Roma sit on the ground,

Conversing, laughing

Inside, each listens to the music of his neighbour

Suffocatingly loud

Whose stereo is the loudest?

I laugh.

Girls dance,

Youths watch.

The old people drink coffee, sitting on the floor by the doorway

Whiling the day away, Romany style.

In front of Shecho ‘s house sit ten Roma

They form a large circle seated on the ground.

What are they doing?

I approach and see a large pan between them

Filled with roasted meat and freshly-baked bread.

They tear the bread by hand,

And eat red tomatoes,

while quaffing down strong whisky,


Like true Roma.

They see me and call out,

"Sit down sister! Eat with us!"

I sit and eat

Along with them.

I am happy.

Dream 2

I go home.

The door is open.

No one is home.

Mother! Father!

No one responds.

Sisters! Brother!

No one answers.

The house door is open.

Perhaps they’ve gone to my uncle.

I go and check.

They’re not there.

My family is gone.

There’s no one.

I re-enter my house

I sit down.

I prepare coffee and drink it alone.

I see everything as it was:

Soup on the stove,

Roasted meat in a pan,

Salad and baked bread on the low Turkish table

I eat the soup prepared by my mother

And go out the door

The sun is scorching.

Maybe they went to the Turbe.

I pass through the upper part of the Quarter

Leading to the Turbe.

There are no Roma in the Quarter

I pass by the homes

Of Alija, Lafita, and Husica,

Nura and Selma.

I look inside, wanting to see Meha and Safija Sejdic

Their cab sits in front of the entry.

Smoke rises from the stovepipe

They’re cooking for the grandchildren again

But there are no Roma.

I get up and proceed.

On my left are garages

and on their roofs, old auto parts

and scrap iron.

Water gushes from the taps

Someone’s pipes are broken again.

I walk slowly because I really want

to observe the Quarter.

Once more my gaze follows the houses,

now to the right

I pass the house where Bajro and Grozda Tahirovic lived.

Now Refik and his family live there – Kosovar Roma.

New Roma have come to the Quarter.

I go on and come to the tiny house

of old Muste and Zejfa

A brother and sister who never married

They know how to fight and swear like no one else on earth.

They are the best.

But there are no Roma.

Between these two houses lies the way to the small home

Of Bajro Pujpica and Ljubica Besic, Ema and

Ramo Mrvica and Celo Tahirovic.

I continue on.

Here lives Bajro Tahirovic, and beside him

Mejra and Tale, Hajra and Bugar Sejdic,

Raba and Ramiz Besic,

and the home of the family Hasanovic.

But there are no Roma.

The Quarter is empty.

I go on, crying.

I see the Turbe.

Father’s car isn’t here.

I leave behind the house that belongs to

Iso and Hajra, and the son Kemo.

They aren’t there either.

I look down and among the shacks

where Kaja and Paso lived, Cina and Musa,

Tuna and Trajan with their children.

So much garbage around the shacks!

Ripped, old, dirty skirts and dresses,

Filthy, tattered shoes, spoiled food and paper.

Continuing on, I see a tent.

A ripped, pathetic, poor man’s tent.

Kaja sits before it, as usual.

A fire burns

In front of it, a piece of sheet metal

And on the metal sits a Turkish pot

black coffee inside.

Good little Kaja.

She kisses me.

In the shade of the tent sleep five children

I sit and drink coffee with Kaja.

I want to ask about my family

And where they have gone.

Fear takes away my voice.

Menacing sounds of aircraft above!

I tremble with fright

My blood freezes.

Kaja and the children scatter.

Grenades! Bombs!

I awake startled

in a foreign land.

(Turbe: a meadow in which old tombs were left from the Turkish Empire)