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!



 

For the month of April, I have had a Liechtensteinian poet staying with me. We went to a friend’s book release party at Rediscovered Books in downtown Boise. After the reading and the celebrating, I found my guest in the poetry section being introduced to the great American poets by Kelly, who works at the bookstore.

This is the final piece of the 4-part April poem. The poem that resulted is shaped like matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls)—each new poem is tucked into the heart of the previous one.

The Stranger: Kelly

His Word: Eyeshadow

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.

***

These people.
I offer them a script
for endings, a way to invite
someone upstairs
on a whisper.
You are too strict,
they say. You in your
boots, standing on
one leg, no eyeshadow
or anything. Some say
editing is a form
of love. So many ways
I have let myself be edited.

***

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.