ronaldo v. wilson


        Virgil does not think MommaSpine is frail, despite being kept together with new stents in her arteries, a mitral-valve clip for her heart, and screws at the base of her now less compressed spine, materials working against Virgil’s memory, MommaSpine holding CeSis, a baby, in the picture near Navy Lake—do you remember how clear it was, and I’d shine my car, and you’d play.

        Virgil remembers how buffed her legs were then, solid and almost square quads, ripped like his were, her arm clutching his sister. She is not frail, like Stream calls her, not like his father, OldStream, who was clearly strong like Virgil’s mother—he smiles from his chair, his teeth tiny ridges of tar, a gauze wraps around his forearms, perfect spectator bucks below.

        The morning she lived, Virgil sees MommaSpine lying there, tiny, the shock of seeing her, prone, in the morning flat on the big grey sectional, not at Zumba, nor lifted into the day, out and gone, or moving in the house to pills and bags of candy, notes in Hindi, or Chinese, her iPod singing languages or electronica in her ear.

        Ronal, can you drop me off at the hospital? I can go from there.

        Virgil the lover, drifting in front of the porch of Stream’s house, or stuck in the night at the WoundedLawyer’s for just one night, and during this night, blood regurgitates back into his mother’s heart. MommaSpine’s body is going, and Virgil is busy writing, busy thinking of the thickness of his belts, whether one’s too wide for the jean, or if another’s brass buckle is worn enough to trigger a reaction from his copper-looking shoes.

        There were signs in the night, the peering raccoon in the yard, and women in OldStream’s house, brown ones, who cared for him, aluminum packs of pastry on the shelf. The bed shifts in the hospital, easily with the up buttons, helping to guide his mother back into the quiet—no to the milk, and yes to the oval lip balm Virgil applies.

        The lights take too long, and this is the first time Virgil sees his mother unable to breathe, the pain in her chest, and on her face, squinching, her compromised body pushing back into Manitoba’s front seat, their seat belt roping in MommaSpine for the drive.

        Glide to the emergency room, park at the tip of the yellow in the emergency room entrance, deliver MommaSpine, charge into the station, elegantly, shirk the addict who was sitting in his wheelie—you made the wrong choices, uh, no—get them to arise at the sight of the elegant stationing of a son trying to save his mother.
My mother is dying. My mother is waxing her car under a sleeping willow. My mother left her entire family to be with my father. My mother lost their first child to SIDS at 55 days. My mother is a wound. My mother cannot breathe. My mother’s back is now bent into an S. She worked 16-hour shifts to keep us fat. She worked to make sure we knew how to move in like this. My mother will be served first.
        Virgil’s face is not only gorgeous—he knows because he took some of the pictures those days in the hospital and still it radiated, however dark—it alone understands how to make an argument, to move the audience, in this case, the black security, or a brown receptionist, whatever voice, dropped, to get her into the room with the physician.

        Dazed and however soon, nitroglycerin pierced into MommaSpine’s heart, and there is no stroke, nor does her heart or brain lose oxygen, nor do the veins cross without MommaSpine aware, her understanding how to get the medicine into her own veins— relaxed, her arm’s offer, to be injected, blood drained, blood given, whatever it takes.

        Virgil’s invested in the fantasy that exists between them, a life that does not carry the direct story of her children never meeting her family in the Philippines, a sister never seen again, now dead, a brother rapist, her mother and a father killed, how, who, when? —How dare OrangeBLOWHOLE help to signify the ugly song, facts of the North American flags on the elevated trucks and their stickers. How dare the memory of their inclusion, hot dogs and mayo, trucks and stars, leakers and losers, and the fat wide, loud.

        Public servant, he is, and Virgil rubs MommaSpine’s head when her body is too hot for her hard-working heart, a heart leaking blood back in, so the doctors find out why the murmurs—MommaSpine was a runner—and sometimes return with KFC, or they would go to Straw Hat and she would order Thick and Chewy, and Virgil, then, would sing, Time keeps on ticking/ticking . . . into the future . . . to feed them, and their lives, for one she is willing to give up, even for dumb, busy Virgil.

        Have you fed your dad?—At home, when Virgil enters the kitchen, MommaSpine tries to get Forgetting, To Live to go into the kitchen too. In the kitchen, Virgil’s father takes many shapes: sometimes an animal caught in a cage, still able to find the tools to escape, whether rolls of mud built into a bridge topped by a rake, or stacked tires, or a lover he gets to open up a lock. Beautiful Animal—his point—escape.

        Virgil dances in CeSis’s old room, the room that would later be AJ’s. A giant Hello Kitty mural covers multiple walls of the sky-blue bedroom. Ordinary windows open up onto the shingled roof next door, a hot-orange sky flattens onto the street, but just where the gnats float into the morning. It is here where Virgil learns escape.

        The story, for Virgil, is not the same as dreaming, but it is close. Once, the Activist Belt said to Virgil, Of course, he does research—he is a Novelist, which was meant to spark him into shame, but it only bothered Virgil some, because, the storehouse of the human, like Myung Mi Kim says, is always in him, not from looking into himself, but from finding, what keeps his family in life.