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!


Always there are exciting strangers at galas. At this year’s Boise Contemporary Theater event, my date was my amazing sister-in-law, who generously bragged to our table about my recent book. The woman next to me, it turned out, was also a writer. We talked about a project of hers, a blog titled “Imprfect” (minus first “e”).

The Stranger: Gina

The Word: Imperfect

The poem I wrote:

“Dog Bride”

He marries us
three at a time,
a wife for each head,
each dog-face.

It started as a dare
but soon came clear
that the monster

wanted a wife,
a woman to slip
underground, to help guard
what the rest
of the world
cannot see—how to resist
such portals?

The second head growls
in its sleep. I thought
I might escape
but there is nothing here
to see, nothing

and the road away
slips just out
of our light.
The old bodying
of birth, love, and death
seems such a sweet
thing to remember.

If I could’ve wished
another time,
it would be to stay
imperfect, plotless
and unimpressive,

that way
no great story
would descend
to choose me.


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