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!


When you are in London, it is quite easy to get to Paris, so my person and I spent a night there. We stayed the night in a tiny apartment that was under 250 square feet. While walking in the morning we were drawn into a beautiful shop called Boby la Plante—a pun on Boby Lapointe. What drew us was a wall of bright magnetic pots coddling succulents. We bought three and I asked the owner for a word.

The Stranger: Smain

The Word: Friendship

The poem I wrote:

I take her into winter
so I can talk to her;
we are two vessels
in the snow, courting
a transfer of contents.
She is old enough now
to scale back the legend
of her parents, to bleed
out our instructions,
choosing with care
her leeches. We stand
on the berm, whitened
both. Here is my best try.
My words, sweet one,
can you hold them.
My friendship, an attempt.
All the while
I am holding her hand
and leading her
into a frozen pond,
all the while
talking, talking.

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