Dominican Poet

When I  met Andre I met a great poet, although I never will know his last name.

In 1995 while I was a TA in an adult ESL class in Ottawa, he was the sort of tall person who stooped and spoke quietly as if to keep a small presence and to not intimidate with his size.

A gentle giant, somewhere around 6’6”, he was between forty and fifty, with work rough hands from construction. He was a solid muscular black man with big beard covering some of his vitiligo.

He was learning English as a refugee claimant from the Dominican Republic. He didn’t talk to others at break, but kept to a corner, earnestly writing in his notebook. 

I sidled over one break, and asked what he was writing. He said, I am a poet. I am translating my poems to English. I’ll never forget his words, his newly translated line:

with the poor of the world I am waiting for my luck to change.

New to the city back then, I thought it inevitable we would cross paths again, as all people did. I still want to hear more of his poetry.