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Transformation

Not the biggest in his year,

But a swagger in his stride.

A cocky glint in his eye

As he patrols his territory, fag in hand.

Tight blue jeans, a curved brim to his cap.

Clenched fists: hands that sent Robbie McHoan to hospital last month.

Twice his height too.

Approaching his home under sodium lamps,

Returning from the corner of town where he spends his nights.

Once inside, in the dim light, his appearance softens, it seems,

His features less sharp, the angles less acute.

Looks in on his brother: fast asleep.

His father slouches in front of the TV: no acknowledgement, no greeting.

He enters his room, lies down on the bed.

Thinks of his home, thinks of his Mum, and cries.

Stefan Ebmeier, aged 14, of James Gillespie's High

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