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 I 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!


I met Val when I came home to Idaho in January. A writer for over a decade, she has chosen this year to begin something new: law school. She told me that she enjoys it, for “law is the only field where knowledge is communicated entirely in stories.”

The Stranger: Val

The Word: Contracts

The poem I wrote:

Above the entrance
to the library
two geese alight
broadcasting their
as-I-see-its. One flies off,

flapping its body
like hauling
a basket of bread;
what inglorious adults,
and they are such clumsy fliers.

I walk straight beneath,
as I every day do:
contracts we make
with self and other
beasts, as in marriage,

when we do what we can
but still ask who failed.
A heavy coupling, thin
efforts at flight, and waiting
for the other to depart first.


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