A boomer poet recalls that special place known as Brooklyn

We’re pretty proud of BoomerCafé’s Poet-In-Residence Harriet Shenkman. She has just been awarded second place among “Women Who Write.” And she has written something new for us: Brooklyn Justice.

Brooklyn Justice

ball_gloveHe remembers Brooklyn when
his grandmother would throw down
a slice of bread and butter five
stories in a paper bag.

And his uncle and two pals,
fedora hats dipped low, hand
in overcoat pocket, murder-
incorporated style, knocked on
the milkman’s door, demanding
his new baseball glove,

Harriet Shenkman

Harriet Shenkman

the glove still stiff, smelling of
genuine leather, confiscated after
he teased the milkman’s daughter.

Quaking in the doorway, the man
gave up the glove, not wanting to
miss his delivery in the morning.


  1. Congratulations on that award, Harriet, and another great poem. Married to a Brooklynite, I’ve absorbed the feel of life in the borough in the 40s and 50s and can picture that paper bag sailing down the five stories – and the smell of leather on the baseball glove.

  2. Dear Harriet, those of us who lived in New York, if not in Brooklyn during that American era can identify with the memory of paper bags and coins destined for children’s waiting hands, flying out of tenement windows and with the customary protectiveness of a father for his young daughters and with the pseudogangsterism of neighborhood boys. Kudoes again to you!

  3. Dear Harriet,
    I enjoyed this poem, especially because I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and both of my grandmothers also lived there. For many years now, my car license plate reads “BDODGER”! Young people have asked me, “What’s BDodger?”

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