You should never meet your heroes.
Ah, but how many times have I heard a stale cliché
and proceeded to ignore it?
A month ago today I met the author of The Book Thief
and stood like an ant before a mountain,
trembling in my bones beside
the fullness of him.
Who was I, to this man?
I knew every crack and crevice of his story
and he did not even know my name.
He was about my height, actually.
He was not ancient and he was not towering,
had neither black cape nor scepter
nor raven perched upon his shoulder.
He was not grey and wise,
he did not have marble universes in his pocket
or shoot fire from his eyeballs.
I had wanted to convey in pure poetic genius
that his book carved me into a person
the way Michelangelo chipped away
at marble and found David inside
but all I managed to do was hold out my copy
and stammer, Thank you.
Thank you so much,
He did not – as one might suppose –
strike me with lightning.
Rather, he put his arm around me.
The hand that wrote my favorite novel
hung for a moment around my waist
as he told me he cried to write the ending
I cried to read.
How human he was, then.
How the stone crumbled, with a single tap,
to reveal a face just like mine.