Poet Adil Tunyaz’s photo, in his flat in Urumchi on 27 August 2021. Photo by A. I. Elkun

Adil Tunyaz*
Translated by Aziz Isa Elkun

Dedicated for A.I

Finally we met
First on the phone –
Then as fast as before dusk falls
A red taxi parked next to us
Left no trace of misery,
But a thorn was left in our tongue…

Your blessing belongs in a foreign language
Your two daughters as white as snow
And they have no worries
They flew with English language for a while
With their semi-transparent wings.

They have fallen down
Into the Uyghur language –
That language that God blessed
There is a sky underneath, and its top covered tight
Its meaning forever and the letters can reach.

The silence goes fast
Faster than a sword
I pulled back my tongue with shock
Tried to avoid even talking about the pigeon
The notebook erased itself in white
But my pen is louder than a bow’s string …

If a lamb was born in a stable
Grass starts to grow in the stream
My fourth son was born and he will be coming out
To the streets where the moon and stars come out …

A stalk of black grapes
are hanging over the white paper,
If you don’t eat, I’ll eat
Oh readers, the night is just one page.

Urumchi, August 27, 2012

* According to the RFA Uyghur Service and United States Commission on International Religious Freedom , “Adil Tuniyaz and his wife, Nezire Muhammad Salih, were both arrested in December 2017. Their eldest son, Imran (19 years old), was also arrested at a Beijing school where he was studying Arabic. Imran was reportedly sent to a detention facility in Xinjiang. It is believed that their three younger children have been placed in state-run orphanages for Uyghur youth whose guardians have been detained. Adil’s father-in-law, the well-known Uyghur scholar Muhammad Salih Hajim, died in a re-education camp in Urumchi in January 2018.”

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