Nî chī le ma?

Image © Unsplash/Henrique Félix

This is the love song of my girlhood:

The lilting peal of spoon and bowl
The Buddhist chant in the kitchen
My grandmother stirring the soup, greeting me with a rasp,

Welcome home. How’s your day, my dear?

Actually, she wouldn’t really say that; we’re not that kind of family.

Instead, she’d say,

Nî chī le ma? Have you eaten?

And now I know they meant the same thing.

So when I ask my lovers, have you eaten, I’m really humming the love song of my girlhood.

Have you eaten?

And if you haven’t, let’s get some food, let’s feed you.

Truly: let me love you.