You must be fifteen or so by now.
And of course you don't remember me.
But I have wanted a daughter ever since.
You were about five, standing quietly with two of your friends.
I was twenty-one, grimy, exhausted, and utterly alone.
Without a word or an upward glance,
you fell into step and held up your hand.
I took it.
We were, in a way,
like Raskolnikov and Polenka
enchanting each other on the stairs.
Except that, once again,
I failed words.
Before this solemn cub
and her silent paw
I was mute as a beast.
Child of the violet evening!
Strange angel of the street!
Comfort you gave
and have given for years
but if comfort you sought
I let you down.
Now that you are gone
inaccessible as the stars
I keep you with a name.
I call you Ursa
Massachusetts poet John Welch has had his work published in numerous little magazines, including Gargoyle and Urthona.
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