The Lie

Nancy Demme

She lied all the time, backward, forward, big, little, grey, red, black. It was like quicksilver when it came upon her. She’d turn to look at the sunset, a slight shift of her left foot, and her mouth would open like some smooth stone truth, and there was no disputing her. A vortex came upon her, sucking her down, swirling into something elemental like how her grandmother homesteaded the view beneath the ebbing sky, how she had killed a man for trespassing, had fourteen children, all but four had died of tuberculosis, how her father had brought three sons into the world, idiots, before they had her. The idiots had been institutionalized, Freddy, Trevor and Francis.

In quiet moments she wrote the truth on her long, white sleeves, hidden under the black lace shawl, so she could remember herself, remember from where she had sprung. She wrote in beautiful black cursive, cryptic, with the pride of a calligrapher. Untarnished facts adorned her blouse.

Born in Tallahoochee, March 1, 1925 to Edna and Granger Turbin. Father – a linen draper.  Mother – an egg merchant. No siblings. No familial diseases. Father and Mother died of natural causes when she was 15. Sent to live…

And there it stopped. She stepped, turned, paused for the rising sun, a lie forming, wormlike, smelling like ancient earth, on the tip of her tongue.



About the author:

Nancy Demme, a retired Children’s Librarian, has facilitated creative writing groups for adults, teens and adolescents for 25 years. She has been published in US1, Confrontations (LIU’s literary journal), Kelsey Review and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. She is an active member in the Garden State Storyteller’s League and recently performed an ensemble piece at the Ellarslie Museum in Trenton. She currently teaches Writing in English to ESOL students.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s