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!


We had reserved a taxi to come at 5 a.m.; we would be leaving for a month vacation in Hawaii during the middle of winter. My husband said over the phone, “We might need something large,” for we had packed, in addition to our backpacks, a giant bag of snorkel gear. At 5 a.m., waiting in the alley behind the house…. A PARTY BUS! With flashing disco lights and dance music! All to ourselves! Our sleepy selves twitched in half-dance all the way to the airport, amid conversation with the driver, Eddie.

The Stranger: Eddie

The Word: Antiquarian

The poem I wrote:

To leave home requires
a recollection, cripplingly raw,

of being once part
of a family. Any going

outside into a cold morning
is to push the old world

aside, spinning it like a broken
piece of rubber. We have

how many minutes ahead.
No-one knows. Look.

Layers of sun. Like
layers of paper. How

they hurt the eyes, they are so
antiquarian and burst-full

of news untold. Listen.
Here we are still. Thawing.

Not wild animals but close.


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