Down on my knees, spreading dark brown mulch
double-milled hardwood, to protect the moisture
enrich the soil. A woman stops and says
I love your house. Your garden. They’re so colorful.
I am so grateful she stopped
to say it. I worry that our house
is too bright for this neighborhood, the colors
too glaring. They shout, look at me!
I ask if she lives nearby; she says no,
she babysits a child down the street.
She does not say, I can’t afford a house,
a garden, like this. She smiles instead
and says, I always enjoy walking past your house.
It must make you happy every morning.
Yes, yes, it does. But I want to say,
You — you make me happier.
Mudita is “sympathetic or vicarious joy, the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being rather than begrudging it.”