I was a sickly child and for my health
Ma fed me Malt from a big brown jar.
Glass, big bellied with a silvery lid
that we used afterwards to hold a candle
to light the cellar.
Malt was thick.
More gloopy than syrup or treacle
and folded back on itself
like ribbon on the spoon.
With light glinting from darkΒ  viscous depths.
It looked tasty, as if it should be sweet.
Soft as unset toffee and was scooped out
by the tablespoon, then hurried
from jar to mouth, fast, before gravity
drew it downwards.
To droop like something dead and oozing
over the spoon-sides.
I would clamp my mouth shut, till the threat
of a clipped ear was muttered.
Then I swallowed, eyes scrunched shut.



Miki Byrne has had three poetry collections published and over 500 poems in magazines and anthologies. She has read on Radio and TV. Miki is disabled and lives near Tewkesbury. Gloucestershire.UK.