Glass Poetry Press

Volume One Issue Three

Tim Hunt

Canned Tuna

In the photo he is seven or eight. Twine cinches his pants to his waist. His hair slicked back, he is smiling as if he wants the camera to like him but isn't sure it will. I do not know whether this was before or after he smoked his grandfather's cigars behind the oak tree and thought no one knew why he was sick and pale. So little, they called him flea, and every time they sent him to the butcher shop he got pork chops no matter what he'd been told to get — so they called him pork chop, too. And the clothes came down brother to sister to brother and each year a pair of catalog shoes that sometimes fit. Does it matter that canned salmon was cheap when he was a boy. It was what you ate, night after night when the butcher cut off credit but the grocer kept you going — that, beans, out of season venison, whatever was left from the summer canning. Such differences are obvious, but they were then as much the ordinary as the canned tuna on toast the end of the month when I was a boy — not signs of making do. What was. That's the trick — to read what was.