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This poem is taken from PN Review 202, Volume 38 Number 2, November - December 2011.

Four Poems Neil Powell
Proof of Identity

What he kept showed what he was: passports,
Wartime identity card, rare photographs
Snapped on his business travels or, much later on,
As a tired and portly district councillor.

He'd be leaving for work: polishing his shoes,
Checking his silk tie, kissing his wife goodbye;
A dewy garden carnation in his buttonhole,
His handkerchief folded to its alpine peak.

Or returning: News and Standard flung aside,
Reaching for the decanter, the evening's first sherry,
Smelling of the world and his smoky journey home -
The last steam train from London Bridge to Reigate.

Then he'd be away for days or weeks at a time,
Piecing together Europe's shattered glassware,
His passports crammed with kaleidoscopic visas;
...


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