I won a skolling contest once,
when I was travelling overseas.
People placed bets on it.
I forget what I won,
but the last thing they expected
was for a young woman,
hardly more than a girl really,
to out-skoll the blokes.
It’s a skill I learned when I was small.
I used to sneak to the fridge at night
to drink milk, straight out of the bottle.
Did you do that too, when you were small?
you know how, if you suck the bottle too hard,
you get a mouthful and have to gulp,
while the suction catches your lips
then makes a pop, or a hiss,
when you break the seal?
My mother would hear me
and come out to lecture me, every time.
So I practiced
You have to open your oesophagus to
let the milk slide down,
without forcing the reflex
that makes your throat constrict
in a swallow,
and without making a sound. Learn to breathe
while you’re doing it.
Don’t let the suction build.
I keep my throat open. I draw air
through my nose.
That’s the way
to get the milk down.
© Frank Prem 2002