Tuna Breath


She cranks the tuna can with an old fashioned opener

Making sure not to get cut on the edges

The tuna juice floats to the top

Like algae from the sea

She wonders what ocean the tuna came from

She wonders who fished him out

As she chops the tuna like her mother taught her

Mixing hard boiled eggs and onions

And adding plenty of salad dressing

With her very bony fingers

And her henna red hair and bulging eyes

She cries every time she peels the onion

The nitroglycerin pill rests carefully beneath her tongue

As her heart beats in unsteady rhythms

She would smile and laugh through the pain

And her cats would rub against her and purr

And line up to smell her fingers

After which they lick their lips

And look up at grandma when she talks

Breathing in her wonderful tuna breath.

For more on grandma’s wonderful tuna fish recipe, read Memories of Grandma Making Tuna Fish

2 thoughts on “Tuna Breath

  1. Oh, Mark! You make me think of my Grandma Julia. The same one that loves to gamble would also make a great tuna fish salad. She had a unique way of getting the best flavor from it. When we would visit in the afternoon, she would say “There’s tuna in refrigerator if you want a sandwich. Help yourself.” I don’t know that she still makes it, but if you ever visit her on a Saturday afternoon and she offers, be sure and get a sandwich. It could bring back memories of your Grandma as well.

    Grandma Julia and I have had a wonderful relationship over the years. Being the oldest, I would always take advantage of staying weekends with her. My happiest memories are the times I would stay with her. We would go to Ventura on Saturday and go shopping and then to lunch (when I was little). She would let me watch TV all day long without a complaint. I’d stay up with Grandpa sometimes and watch the fights with him. Sunday morning the three of us would get up and go to mass and then brunch afterwards. I loved those weekends because Grandma made me feel as special as your Grandma did! Thanks so much for sharing your story. I hope I get to taste your Grandma’s tuna fish recipe, even if it is from your hands.

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