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!


I met Val on an airplane: she has lived in many places, written many nonprofit grants, and lavished love on many grandchildren. She offered my daughter raisins to entice her to give up the 4-inch lollipop I had given her to bide time on our long flight (travel food, not home food.)

The Stranger: Val

Her Word: Indiscretions

The poem I wrote:

When sugar-season falls like a frosted cloak
there is nothing to do besides give in

to the tastes we crave: whatever indiscretions
the days offer, we take first in stealth,

then with joy and ease, erasing old vows
with the relief of rock as it gives way to water.

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