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!


If you work in the bagel industry, you likely get up early. When I stopped at Blue Sky Bagels for breakfast, I learned that Ben—who had a wonderful energy about him—wakes every weekday at 3am. As a morning person, I was intrigued.

The Stranger: Ben

His Word: Gullible

The poem I wrote:

My mornings are my shield:
each day of waking earlier
than the light stitches on one
more piece of armor, a suit
I am making to silver me
through the day – a keepsafe
from accidents, lost time,
the mercury fireworks of
having to argue. Safety is
holding vigil in the gullible
night, making art in the dark,
the incessant shine of each
of my metals: the aloneness
that grows hot and rises.

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