My Brooklyn 1985
by Sarah Battaglia
Heading north on 86th from Stillwell,
the elevated B train rumbles.
Coney meets Gravesend,
and scents of buttery cookies bless the corner of 25th Avenue,
rivaling the fragrance of L&B Pizza,
the borough's best, hands down.
Paper towel facades of discount stores brighten
the concrete landscape
between Italian designer shoes and Russian fur vaults.
A bridal mannequin vogues across the street from the salumeria
as the cugines cruise toward Bay Parkway
in shiny Infinitis and Mustangs.
Bensonhurst segues to Dyker Heights and, as the "el" veers right,
the sky opens straight ahead to Bay Ridge.
Actors shoot scenes at 18th Avenue
while Independence Bank welcomes a stream of customers.
Turkish halvah and Mandarin chicken share a small, busy corner,
but the Sicilian social club entrance remains silent.
An upscale furniture boutique borders the Greek café.
Cars pull into the four-level garage at Fifth Avenue
(double-parking spaces are filled on the strip).
Italian women with bloated ankles push shopping carts
past Korean boys on skateboards.
A Dominican mother and son wait at the corner for
the crosstown bus to Sunset Park.
I stop at the Third Avenue intersection
where a mosque and video store co-exist.
One last look behind me and I drive toward the bridge,
back to suburbia,
and away from the borough of my soul.
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