My mother built a house of books.
She raised up walls of sturdy spines and plastered them with knowledge.
Candles lit our wordy home, casting shadows and bringing the stories to life.
Every corner, nook and cranny held some undiscovered secret, some new bit of knowledge to glean.
My mother built a house of books, and taught us all to read.
My father built a house of strength.
He made the walls so they would never falter, but kept them plain and humble.
The foundation was firmly entrenched, reliable and good.
Stone and brick, sturdy and enduring, were tempered with well-cut wood.
My father built a house of strength, and taught us all to stand our ground.
My sister built a house of beauty.
She spun the walls from spider glass and used such lovely tints.
Light danced through and filled the space, splashing rainbows on the floor.
It was all so lovely and delicate, the spun glass and color and light.
My sister built a house of beauty, and taught us all to laugh.
My brother built a house of influence.
He wove his walls together with careful words and calculated compliments.
Opulent and practical, it rested on a complicated tangle of connections and favors.
Light and shadow had their place, concealing and revealing all in strategic time.
My brother built a house of influence, and taught us all to lie.
And now I have built a house of nothing.
I’ve built the walls of dreams and hopes, of anything at all.
It’s all a jumbled, tangled mess—there’s no hope of order in it at all.
My mother’s books, my father’s strength, my sister’s laughter, and my brother’s well-intentioned lies.
I’ve built a house of nothing—but it’s everything to me.