The actions then become habits because we do them again and again because they were successful—we made it through the anxiety. —Nancy Elder, MD
A dark-haired woman sits on the subway
with the paper, brushing methodically,
almost furiously, with braid’s fringed end,
that hopeful space between nose and mouth.
I look on, entranced, and imagine she’s painting
a dream set away from the grit and grime
of cities, though still the energy: now in waterfalls,
sunsets, and wind-whipped tops of evergreens
reflected in a perfectly smooth lake—
pool of calm tirelessly sought.
I wonder if anyone has ever watched me, mine—
thumbnails probing, gentle yet persistent,
the beds of neighboring fingers—
imagining a garden tended, soil lovingly tapped.