Patigul Ibrahim Mohamed – Identity – translated by Mimi Chang

I pray in a different 
but familiar voice
connecting to the dead 
with intimate words.
When I do nothing, my identity becomes 
suspicious. I hold my body 
feeling the bones of my father curled in me.
But only I can feel it.
I have a strange posture when I think or do something.
I am my father when I’m angry.
I am my mother when I’m skeptical.
When I don’t understand my child, 
I know that’s his parents’ blood rushing inside him.
My mom groans in me when I’m tired
but I dare not speak in her voice,
afraid to scare myself.
I am more of myself when I’m not myself,
the me as a child from my memory.

Patigul Ibrahim Mohamed is a Uyghur poet from Xinjiang Autonomous Region of western China. She lives in a mixed community, her father is Uyghur, her mother Hui-Muslim. She has published two novels and seveon collections of essays and poems. She was a recipient of the People’s Literature Award in 2014.