Grandmother kept a diver's knife strapped to her thigh.
Daily, before the night could fray into dawn, she dived half a mile from shore, inhaling three minuets of air at a time.
All morning, she pried abalone and sea urchins from slick rock.
On my birthday, she brought me a ball of spines in a bucket, lifted its bit of oceans into my cupped hands. The creatures round mouth exploring the cracks of my palm, tasting the salt on my skin, recoiling.
Grandmother boiled garlic, soybeans, salt into broth, ladled the seaweed soup into a white bowl. She turned the urchin and broke it open, scooped out the orcher roe with a spoon, dropped it in among the kelp.
I spooned mouthfuls at a time as she haversted the rest of the body's cavern, a move as practiced as mending her thick black diving skins and nets. Her fingers were steady against the spines. What I remember is not the sweetness or the slickness, but the heat rising from the broth, a mouth wide enough to swallow the needles and flesh of the sea.