This was the house of my father-in-law
A house he built on his own
Perched in a lost village in the French Alps
That once housed a school, a store and two hotels
It became a solitary place
Yet the man busied himself
An avid vegetarian when few knew the name
He flirted with rice and tomatoes
Unlike most who flirt with fat and grease
And in his house there was no tool
No machine that could go unfixed
The repair became such an engagement
That a dialogue sprouted, ensued
Often degenerating into radiant derision
I remember my first visit
He proudly demonstrated the fireplace
Whereby he contrived a radiator to hold the flames
The house came to life with the heat that was pumped throughout it
He told me, manipulating hot coals with his hands
All the while my children watched stoically
Fire was a danger, "interdit"
"Surtout ne pas toucher avec les mains"
And Grandpere defied all of that!
While sitting comfortably in his slippers.