“Obstacle Course” by Josh Feit

I inadvertently knocked over your coffee today, Mom,
and thought of the time 
40 years ago, you set the kitchen on fire.
In the weeks before a father’s death, 
these domestic proofs
are dreams out in the open.   

In the case of the kitchen fire, 
it was your dad who was dying. 

You were 50-years-old, chicken breasts sizzling
in oil. You’re still struggling 
to keep kosher.

Beguiling rabbinic eyes watching from the living room, 
smoke and flames dancing a hora up the wall.   
In the case of the coffee, I’m
54 years old, cramped in the corner, 
surrounded by filthy end-tables, 
magazines you’ve been subscribing to all my life, 
TV remotes, Kleenex, 

and my dad, 

eyes like a little boy learning multiplication tables. 

I’m trying 
to set up his nebulizer.

Mist dancing at his mouth.

Josh Feit’s poems have been published in Spillway, Vallum, The Halcyone Literary Review, and High Shelf among other journals. He was a finalist for the 2021 Wolfson Chapbook Poetry Prize, the 2020 Vallum Award for Poetry, and the 2019 Lily Poetry Prize. He is the speechwriter for Seattle’s regional mass transit agency.