My mother, she eats a lot of chocolate, but always looking away from me so I can’t see her chew. My mother, she smiles at me often, always. When she remembers, she whispers slowly in my ear and points so that I know what’s going on. My mother, she speaks in half words when she’s mad. S’s and Fs and words unfinished. She asks so many questions, when she’s happy and when she’s sad. Really, Oliver? Why, Leon? Really, honey? Why? She says it in a singsongy way, and I copy her when I can. Eh eh eh eh. My mother, she sings to us, loudly sometimes, as she spins me around, and so so softly when she kisses my face in the dark. My mother loves me, she tells it to me all the time. I love you, baby, she says as she touches my nose. I love you so much, she kisses my face, and I nestle my nose into her hair. I watch my mother, always. I smell her. I wait for her to breathe and move, and when she is far I cry for her. I want her with me, always. My mother, she cries sometimes, not often, but always on my father’s shoulder. And when she looks at me, though her face is streaked and her eyes are red, she smiles at me and let’s me touch her cheek. My mother, she holds my brother is her arms and plays with his hair as he talks on and on and on. When I awake, my mother is there, with her warm skin, her milk and her silent, tired kisses. And when she’s not around, and all seems lost, I yell for her: Mama. Mommy. Mom. Mama. Mammy. And suddenly, she scoops me up, and I smell her again. I blow bubbles on her shoulders and run my new teeth on her arm. My mother, she’s always here.