Last night I dreamed my mother was Carl Reiner and I was sad she died

They had nothing in common
besides being smart New Yorky jews,
Carl was a creator and my mother
an other…

while laughing listening
his 2000-year-old man spinning
in shiny blackness circling
my plastic turntable hypnotizing

me in my bedroom
door mandatory ajar
cigarette smoke creep from my mother’s
room to mine seeping into every crevice

uninvited and staining
while the record re-played
each time it ended, my index finger
relocating the needle gingerly

keeping laughter coming for days
and at night I’d watch black and white
reruns on my tiny Sony trinitron
about a happy family whose father came home

every night even though he tripped
on a single house stair, my finger lingering
on the dial turning the laugh track up
and down low to high lower to highest

controlling and amplifying happiness between
my index finger and my thumb—
Bless the creators (and bless those other types too)
who spin their genius gifts into lifelines


Note: The author is a poet and essayist whose mother died a week before Carl Reiner died.


Photo by Pawel Janiak on Unsplash

J Brooke

J Brooke (answers to “they”, prefers “e”) won Columbia Journal’s 2020 Womxn’s History Month Nonfiction Award, was a winner of Beyond Words Literary Magazine’s 2020 Dream Challenge, received Honorable Mention in Streetlight Magazine's 2020 Essay/Memoir Contest, had a fiction essay in the top seven finalists for North American Review’s 2020 Kurt Vonnegut Prize. Publications include Columbia Journal, Harvard Review, The Maine Review, TSR-The Southampton Review, RFD Magazine, Hartskill Review, Rubbertop Review, Mom Egg Review. Brooke was Nonfiction Editor of the Stonecoast Review while receiving an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, e majored in creative writing at Haverford College. Brooke's misspent youth was spent in advertising.