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The Identification

 So you think its Stephen?
Then I'd best make sure
Be on the safe side as it were.
Ah, theres been a mistake.
The hair you see, its black, now Stephens fair .
Whats that? The explosion? Of course, burnt black.
Silly of me.
I should have known.
Then lets get on.
The face, is that the face mask? that mask of charred wood blistered scarred could that have been a child's face? The sweater, where intact, looks in fact all too familiar.
But one must be sure.
The scoutbelt.
Yes thats his.
I recognise the studs he hammered in not a week ago.
At the age when boys get clothes-conscious now you know.
Its almost certainly Stephen.
But one must be sure.
Remove all trace of doubt.
Pull out every splinter of hope.
Empty the pockets.
Handkerchief? Could be any schoolboy's.
Dirty enough.
Cigarettes? Oh this can't be Stephen.
I dont allow him to smoke you see.
He wouldn't disobey me.
Not his father.
But that's his penknife.
Thats his alright.
And thats his key on the keyring Gran gave him just the other night.
Then this must be him.
I think I know what happened .
about the cigarettes No doubt he was minding them for one of the older boys.
Yes thats it.
Thats him.
Thats our Stephen.

Poem by Roger Mcgough
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