Fernando Lobo

Anthony Thwaite

My dark Brazilian friend, seventy years back
In Washington. Both of us were foreign,
On the edge of Gordon Junior High.
After my English prep-school shine wore off,
My grades slid down and I lost interest
In most things, except stamps and snakes and sex.
We visited the embassies, cadging stamps,
And messed about off Massachusetts Avenue
Playing the hub-cap trick on passing cars
(You threw one into the road and shouted ‘Hub-cap!’
And the car screeched to a halt.)
                                                  All this was idle,
The sort of stuff 13-year-olds get up to.
But you, somehow, made it all different,
A different way of foreignness, a mask
To wear until a real face appeared,
And I went home to England, and the war
Ended, and I forgot Fernando Lobo
Until last night I dreamed of your dark smile,
Conspiratorial, and foreign, just like me.