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.”