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 friends over for dinner on Easter and they invited their friends, Laura and Alex, and we all had a blast. One common thread was that we all have young children—and so we got into a discussion about who, in each couple, acts as “The Enforcer.” (I was not nominated).

The Strangers: Laura & Alex

The Word: Enforcer

The poem I wrote:

The moon is gone again and it forgot
to tell us how the years would eclipse
us so easily. And who among us has not
hoarded and failed, bit and commanded,
wasted our love? The young say, pretend.
Pretend to be both dragon and enforcer.
They take a bowl, fill to meniscus with
made-up water, soak our cardboard hearts.

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