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!


Idaho is home to the World Center for Birds of Prey—where I accompanied my daughter’s kindergarten class on a field trip. On the bus ride over the children asked for the scariest fairy tales I knew; I told them variations on “Fitcher’s Bird.” Upon arrival we met Curtis, the education coordinator, who took the kindergarteners on an energetic tour of the center and got them talking about birds, flight, and extinction. The man could mobilize kids: at one point he had them soaring around the facilities with arms outstretched, pretending to be baby condors.

The Stranger: Curtis

The Word: Crepuscular

The poem I wrote:

I suffer
for home, for stretching
corners until they hold,

pulling from floor
to wall some
semblance of order;

and what a fool I was
to think it would be easy,

this being
awake nights,

this crepuscular work
and when they are born

their rush
toward flight.

The startling part
is always the nest, the choosing

and destroying,
the damning proof
of how much life

we spend
building a house.

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