Wearing patent leather shoes
and white gloves,
Going on the bus downtown
with my grandmother.
Riding the escalators in
the big department stores.
Eating lunch in Hutzler’s basement,
chicken chow mein, or shrimp salad on toasted cheese bread.
Visiting my cousins’ grandpa Harry’s shoe store,
next to Mr. Peanut
Nodding and waving in the window,
the smell of peanuts and oil filling the street.
Sometimes we would go to
the big library, the one with
The science museum on
the top floor.
Always, we would go through Lexington Market
on the way back to the bus,
Stopping to buy paper cones brimming with
buttermilk, creamy and tart.
Almost 60 years ago now,
she, 40 years gone, me 50 years gone from Baltimore.
That downtown probably long gone, too,
but alive in my memory,
Even down to the smells of
department store perfume and exhaust fumes on the street.
I wonder what memories
my granddaughter will carry
Of times spent