The House We Build Together | Christopher Clauss

Image: Katherine Cavanaugh

Christopher Clauss

I do not ask her
if she believes
that the fairies will really come,
that they might be searching for a tiny backyard house
in which to dwell.
Even if they were,
no magical creature would choose
to live in this tangle of sticks
over which we have fussed
for far too long.
It doesn’t matter
that the bed of moss
will go un-slept in.
I will not worry myself
with exactness or proportions
of bark chair to mushroom table.
The fairies will never complain
about such things.
We busy ourselves
with flower petal carpets
and arranging decorations
of shiny quartz pebble just so.
The final product
is never quite what she envisioned.
The furnishings are rustic
and the roof keeps falling in
each time it is adjusted
by little fingers with the best of intentions.
She will remember
building everything herself.
When it is gone,
when the rain
and breeze
and rot have scattered the remnants
she will remember it
as a jeweled palace,
a luxurious home.
She will sleep comfortably
in her own bed
knowing the fairies
are well cared for,
imagining she had tucked them in herself,
kissed them gently on the forehead
the way Daddy does
before he whispers
good night.

Christopher Clauss (he/him) is an introvert, Ravenclaw, father, poet, photographer, and middle school science teacher in rural New Hampshire.  His mother believes his poetry is “just wonderful.” Both of his daughters declare that he is the “best daddy they have,” and his pre-teen science students rave that he is “Fine, I guess.  Whatever.”

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, 
Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

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