Poetry for Strangers is about finding inspiration in community, in people, in the chance encounters of everyday life. PFS suggests that every person can be a “muse” of a poem. Every week of this year I will ask a stranger for a single word and then write a poem inspired by the word. I invite you to do the same.

Share your poem on this week’s word!


Traveling again: I got snowed out of my first flight, and while digging my coat from my checked bag to use as a blanket for a red-eye flight from west coast to Boston for a teaching spell, I met Angel who works for an airline. He seemed thawed out from a landscape of frozen people. He smiled and asked questions and made jokes. And the encounter set me off on a long night’s travel feeling better than I had before.

The Stranger: Angel

His Word: Aloha

The poem I wrote:

In winter I dream
of beaches, of aloha
burbling from spinner
dolphins’ spouts and

faces looking sunward
unafraid: how long
we spend peering
into our darkness

in these desert parts,
white and tan and
rippling like water
but not quite: in

winter the right
answers come on
heaves of snow,
contracting out
new green things.


The Challenge: Do you have a poem in you on this word? Write one here.