Your mother sees snakes. You have never finished Indiana Jones. You hold onto her left hand, and she asks if “Ramon” will come kill them. Fuck it. Yes, Bonny. Ramon will come. You invite Ramon into the house for a glass of your mother’s iced tea. You have a tea party with Toys R Us dishes and fortune cookies. Your mother’s hair is giant and nineties-curly. Ramon asks for corn tea. You are wearing your giant turquoise square glasses and proudly pour him a cup, ingredients unknown. He is broad-shouldered and shirtless and kind. He is ageless as you crawl onto his lap, cry into his chest. So are you. He lets you stay up with Hannah the Shi-Tzu because you cannot fall asleep in there alone. He wears unhinged overalls, and his skin is the color of Colombian coffee. He appears when summoned, not unlike Paul Bunyan. And it has been years. You are both grown, and your grandmother claims that cancer is the equivalent of playing possum. Ramon cannot shut her up. He can only kill fictitious snakes. Those are his jobs: drying the tears of little girls and beating the living shit out of the cruel things that slither from your mom’s broken brain. He comes home with you for a little bit. There are no family pets here, just strays. He rubs WD-40 on your rusty apartment door jamb like the circling motions of his calloused hands on your thighs. He is deep and no longer ageless. You buck against him as he pays your bills, completes your laundry, and does not come until you do. He carries you straddled, papoose-like, as you ride. He fixes things. You heal. Your mother is riding horses along Round Mountain Road, while the pesticides rain on her air. He sees this. He can do nothing. He sees your mother with a wine glass, placing your hair in a French braid. He sees you crying and smoking. He cannot cure her or you, but he can change. As the glioblastoma cobra rises in your mother’s vision, he is the form of a mongoose. He bites down, and an agreement is made. Your mother may sleep tonight, nightmare free. But the cobra still lives. You are dyed-blonde and lense-free, but he still holds you like a child. For these tears are unbridled and ageless. And together, you sleep.
Blonde is currently a college professor and law student. She received her MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California, Riverside.