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!


It was a Friday afternoon at the Modern Hotel, it was Treefort Weekend, it was on the brink of rain, the bar billowed with people. I was sitting with a dear friend and we ran into another dear friend. My town felt tiny that night, in carnival spirit, with so much music and so many people downtown. Amid the chaos, Ceci stood behind the bar and zeroed her attention on us as if we were the only people in the room.

The Stranger: Ceci

Her Word: Apoplectic

The poem I wrote:

We sit in a circle
and set our beasts
out to play.

One beast is a body.
His beast is something
apart. Her beast gets apoplectic
only when hungry.

Beasts are always hungry.

My beast is something
I cannot trust
to control itself.
Sweet button,
your beast is too
heavy to carry.

We sing songs to our beasts
and offer advice:
when you have three
beasts pick the best.
Say hello or run
for your life.

Shoulders rustle,
our faces turn to the clock.
Time to cage beast
for the day, to say
you are pretend, you
are just my play
in hope it will believe us.


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