I saw Seamus Heaney once
at Grolier’s Bookstore
in Harvard Square, which carried
only poetry. He was
lifting and looking at books
just like I was. I knew who
he was, but had not read
his poetry. It crossed
my mind to ask him if
I could buy a beer for him.
He saw me see him, smiled
said nothing, just went on looking.
I think he left not long after and
I forget if I bought anything or not.
Why didn’t you speak to him?
I asked myself. ‘Cause I was scared
I answered. You could’ve bought one
of his books and asked him to autograph it
then offered to buy him a beer.
I console myself by remembering
that Faulkner went to Paris
to see Joyce, which he did,
eating at a café with Nora and the kids
but he said nothing, was content to
have seen the Master.
Also with how I tried to get
a job there (at Grolier’s) years later
and how the owner
when I told her
I was a poet
jumped up and yelled,
“I don’t hire poets here, get out!”