Mr. Krall

as a kid living across the street he was a giant

six foot seven, a laugh from the gut, never meek

once a center for the Spartans basketball team

nicknamed “Shorty” and at times inappropriate

being young I couldn’t help but think he was hilarious

whether getting the mail from Fred, walking the dog

or daydreaming while dribbling towards the rim

trees were the make-believe top of the Silverdome

I was a Detroit Piston

he once strolled a beach in Florida with a friend

no one for miles

finally one gentleman appeared, shouting, “Hi Shorty!”

on occasion he told stories at Nemo’s Bar in Detroit

golfed and did good for the less fortunate

once he was sick

papa and I would walk over to his room

he was quieter

our home, driveway outside his window

a seventies car chase on TV

smoke from wheels on gravel

papa straightened a hanger to clean his oxygen tube

metal into plastic

I glanced him

he made light of the instance

papa in his t-shirt

laughing at his comments, helping

he would leave on a Friday

sixteen years later I would meet my wife on the same day in July

less than three months passed

Pope John Paul II would hold mass in the Silverdome

I would wave to his helicopter from the street

in front of Mr. Krall’s unstirring bedroom

Joris Soeding

Joris Soeding’s most recent collections of poetry are After Highland Park (Origami Poems Project, 2021) and Forty (Rinky Dink Press, 2019). Soeding’s writing has appeared in publications such as Another Chicago Magazine, Poetry Pacific, and Tint Journal. He is a 2021 and 2022 Pushcart Prize nominee and fifth grade Language Arts teacher in Chicago, where he resides with his wife, son, daughter, and cats.

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