From “Sister Tongue”

Noosh-e joon. 

I tell the chef of the house how delicious her food is, and she says back, Noosh-e joon. A blessing that goes deep—a giving back of more than just the meal. 

Noosh-e joon. I say it now. Sometimes I just say it in my head, because I know the person eating my food doesn’t know what it means. But I mean it. It comes without me ever learning it literally. It comes from wanting to keep the gratitude in the open, not shy. 

I want to explain: 
It has little to do with, So kind of you to say. It’s close to, You’ve tasted my love and given it back to me. I give it back again. I deposit it deep inside you. I knew all that before I ever had to ask. I even knew it when I pronounced it wrong, said, moosh, a word for cute, because I could tell how sweet it sounded. I learned it before I learned it. When I say it now, I want to say it raw, I don’t want to stop myself, even though I often do. I am intimate. I want to sound like all my aunts who ever said it to me: Hear my love in your ears, swallow it.

 زبان خواهر

From Sister Tongue by Farnaz Fatemi (September 2022). Copyright © 2022 The Kent State University Press. Reprinted with the permission of  the publisher.