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’ve started doing Sunday daytrips for a whole host of reasons, including that for me a good weekend is a book, a friend, and a café, and for my husband it’s a white water kayak trip that ideally includes a close-up sighting of a bear. So we compromise. This is how we wound up in Baker City, Oregon on a Sunday. We ate Mexican food. We changed a diaper inside a hotel built in 1889. We stopped inside an art gallery/chocolate shop where we met the owner who had gone to chocolate school (!), and her name was…

The Stranger: Alyssa

Her Word: Emulsion

The poem I wrote:

We are all about bones
these days: how
things break causing
people to fall over.
I like telling stories
about bones. Better
bloody stories than
the emulsion of world
into facts, you me
almond cherry tree milk
becoming unstoried
things, just: no telling
where the virtue
lies or doesn’t. Does
not matter. What tastes
better is the real thing.
Every child is a writer
having not yet lost
the need to read the world.

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