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by Janet Laugharne

“There’s a dialogue between gut and brain.” (But, there again, a dispute can arise).

Day One: Grains

More like brain whorls than “cauliflower pieces”.

I follow the guide. No metal. Pour milk (organic) onto grains and stir, with a wooden spoon, in a glass container.

They will thrive, apparently.

As a scientist, I find the instructions a little vague. But I’m a patient now. Turned superstitious and ready to try, ahead of the evidence.


Twenty-four hours later: Kefir

I draw up the blinds onto a summer’s day.

First, I feed the cat — of course — then hold up the jar. Observe the crust on top and the clear pockets of whey.

A fizzing, matched by my own internal world; the smell of yeast and micro-organisms in concert.

I take the wooden spoon and stir, cautiously. Sieve to find globules of life, granular and growing. Scoop them back, cover with fresh milk; and restart the cycle.

Time to try.

A sip on my sick tongue. A sharp tang in my mouth, lingering at the throat.

Honey not required.


Then: Dispute Resolution

A microbiome, new world.

I joke with friends who pull faces at the sight and smell.

“It’s not bad. I’m feeling the benefit.”

“Ok … if you say so, Cindy.” Their feel-good choice the bubbles of prosecco.

Also welcome.

But, now, I follow the ritual; make my kefir, decant, drink and renew — savouring the dialogue of quiet.

Janet Laugharne is a writer based in Wales, UK. Her short stories, flash fiction and poems have appeared in Yours magazine, Litro online, Reflex Fiction, Paragraph Planet and Writers Forum. She has published non-fiction with Springer, Bloomsbury Academic and Multilingual Matters. The Penaluna Way, a crime mystery, is in the editing process. Janet also writes with Jacqueline Harrett under the penname J.L. Harland (jlharland.co.uk). Their debut novel, Elin, was longlisted for the Cinnamon Debut Novel Prize 2016 and they are currently working on a sequel. Find her at: jlharland.co.uk/