He died only last week.
    I laid a rose on his casket
    and whispered,
    “Adiós, Licenciado.”
    Edwin’s eulogy brought us tears.
    I saw César take out his handkerchief.

    But, wait, does this mean
    Volcy won’t be at the Niagara Café or
    at Sazón Latino when I walk in?
    Wasn’t it just a couple of months ago
    he insisted on picking up my tab:
    arroz, habichuelas, pollo frito? ¡ Un caballero!

    Does his death mean our generation
    Is beginning its slow exit?
    If so: let us remember the glory days
    ¡qué tiempos aquellos!

    when we took to the streets
    —Paul was our lawyer then—
    to register voters and do “lit drops,”
    when we met to verify signatures
    at the Board of Elections and one of us
    brought in a huge box of pastelillos
    that filled the air with a new scent.

    What camaradería: “Pásame un pastelillo, Mami.”
    That was Paul Volcy’s world. Our world.

    One of us is missing.

    Olga karman