Contortionists


by Keith J. Powell


Mom survived on backbenders, splits, torques, and twists. Don’t avoid the truth, she said. Avoid bumping into the lie. She collected dodges the way others plucked coins from sidewalks, pocketing them to buy her way out of trouble later. Always limber and prepared, Mom’s pretzeled confabulations inevitably dazzled her inquisitors, defusing their heated accusations. I wish I’d studied her act more closely. Years later, when a stray motel receipt exposed my intimate tumblings, I had no ready excuse. I was left sputtering, stiff and graceless before my wounded husband, my heart beating like clapping hands, urging the show to begin.


Keith J. Powell writes fiction, CNF, reviews, and plays. He is a founding editor of Your Impossible Voice and has recent or forthcoming work in Rejection Letters, The Ekphrastic Review, Bending Genres100 Word Story, and New Flash Fiction Review. Find more at www.keithjpowell.com.


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