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A Mirror by Muhammad Izchi

This short poem was written summer of 2010 by Muhammad, a Muslim student of mine from western China. He is the first student at Wuhan I’ve ever had who wasn’t Hun Chinese. There are more foreign students on campus, particularly from Africa, that I see than Muslims. Muhammad comes from a family of intellectuals and teachers and is studying to be a psychiatrist. English is his second language, but like love itself his original poem is clear and moving. I almost never read poetry in translation because poetry is in essence the language it is written in. There is something about the succinct clarity of this poem like looking into a mirror itself that I find very striking. Look.


A Mirror

I am a clear mirror.
You see yourself in my heart.
I see you every day.
My love! can you see my heart?


Muslims in China (according to my students), like minorities in most parts of the world, are considered by the majority to be untrustworthy and thievish; but since they don’t drink they are spared being called the drunks.

Beef and chicken only

Beef and chicken only

Aroma & smoke

Aroma & smoke

The cook and the smoke

The cook and the smoke

Muslim street barbecue

Muslim street barbecue


In Wuhan the Muslims run the best noodle shops and street barbecues. There is a Muslim noodle shop near campus that serves the best Dao Xiao Mian I’ve ever eaten, noodles cut with a knife from a ball of dough and quickly boiled then added to a spicy tomato sauce with green peppers and eggs. Incredible stuff.

Dao Xiao Mian

Dao Xiao Mian

Chopsticks in Dao Xiao Mian

Chopsticks in Dao Xiao Mian

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