Mama Entertained No Liars
I wanted you to be the first to know, Rowan tentatively confided in me, but I also wanted him to know that, my mother was a better detective than most; she could detect a liar by the fluctuations in the voice levels of the speaker. The pace and rhythm had a good deal to with the detection as well. She was notorious; she would simply say: what you are telling me doesn’t even sound right! Go away and come back and tell it to me again. If you told the same tale in the same way you were abruptly sent away. Some type of revision had to be made, and she could sense if there wasn’t a change.
Being sent away gave the fabulist a chance to make significant changes in his or her story. She applied the same rules to boys and girls, men and women alike. She favored no one, especially me. Construct a better lie, even then she knew what was being said was not true. I got better as time wore on, but there were many who did not survive the tests. Suffice it to say, they failed miserably.
Mama was better than most lawyers, and she never attended school, or graduated from anything. It was the tone of the truth, the details, the halting rhythms of the tale that gave it away as being false; it was also what revealed the thief and exposed the murdered.
Her ability remained a mystery to me long before and after she had died. It was a decade after my first child was born and he had learned to talked that I sensed how she had been able to know what was, what, and when sin was sin. She was, to state it mildly, better than preachers, Rabbis and Priests.
So, I am as patient as I can be when I send my children away, questioning as I did long, long, time ago, how does he do it?
I simply smile knowing that this type of detection is a gene in the family’s bloodline and that given time and having their own children, they will smilingly, stumble upon the answer of how their father and their grandmother never took liars as prisoners. This is the truth, as I knew it for the window was open just enough to let in the cool air to enrich my lie.
Herbert Woodward Martin has his tenth volume of poems: The Shape of Regret accepted for publication in October of 2019. He has written the libretto to a new Concert Aria which was set to music by the American Composer Adolphus Hailstork and given it World Premiere at The Harlem String Players in New York City at The Schomburg Research Center and Library on the 28th of February 2019.
See more of his work in 6.2