Dekalb is titi’s house. Grover Cleveland’s tracks lead to Dr. Mederos on St. Nicholas, Chinese on Wyckoff by the B38, Corner of Irving, a brick building — beige. Crosses jutting out all over. My whole childhood, shuttered. Sophi’s hair salon after. Tony’s Pizza on the corner of Knickerbocker. The cuchifrito, Cecilia’s, where titi always gets the mangú. Next to the newsstand where uncle Louie gets the gum that tastes like soap. This is titi’s block. Across from the place you can rent for parties. Three creaky metal studded flights up that are shorter than the length of your feet so you always feel like you’re falling even when you’re climbing. Her bell never works. Gotta scream. From out her metal barred window, she drops the keys. Dekalb is the turrón titi ate with me. The clothesline outside her window, wooden clothespins pinched between her lips. The Reggaeton, the Salsa, the Merengue, the Bachata, at all hours of the morning, never letting poor titi sleep. The only survivor now is the pizzeria, and the tracks. The rest you can only visit in memories, photos, or Google Maps. Yo. They even gentrified the piraqua stands. Leave my ice alone. Dekalb Avenue. Not “Deh-kolb.” The L train says it wrong. Dee-Kalb. It’s titi’s house. It’s childhood. It’s home.
Feeling nostalgic. May polish it for “sound” later. Love you, titi! Muchiiisimo!