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 felt a bit like a comedy skit. I left the house on date-night without my husband. I had looked for him in the house and thought he might’ve left already. He spied me from the window and called, “You’re going on our date without me?”

It was a perfect spring evening, an evening that cried out to be walked in. It was no wonder that soon a neighbor walked by. His name was Don, he was in his eighties, and he was walking a dog named Joy. I liked listening to him. He said: “I’ve lived here a long time. I’m nearly 87. Used to spend three quarters of a day up in those hills. I used to be the youngest in the neighborhood when my wife and I first married. Those were the houses where the old people lived—those same houses now are home to young families. It’s a good place. Can’t hardly be beat, if you enjoy it.”

I promised to hand-deliver his poem, for of computers he said: “Don’t have much time for them.”

The Stranger: Don

His Word: Enjoyment

The poem I wrote:

Sunshine before storm.
A boy
in my arms. I sing
and he shakes his head.


I don’t know yet
how to sing to you.

All I know
is how to turn us both
into birds.


Girl edits boy. Boy edits girl.
Perhaps there is some
enjoyment in it.

Boy asks, Do you think
the crocuses
will rise today?

I must tell
these stories now
so they may become
the future.

So many ways I have let
myself be loved.


Such a story catches
in my bones

like shrapnel.
I must tell it now
or else it will become
the future.


I say, You
sing me a song.
Like a dolphin
he does.


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