I met Jia at the bottom of a hill while our kids were sledding. They sledded down a steep hill for over an hour, which seemed a long time to be cold—but they could have gone much longer. Jia had recently come home from Bangkok where she taught middle school. When I asked her what in Thailand left the biggest impression, she said, “The time-sense. There is just a different way of thinking about time.”

The Stranger: Jia

The Word: Inspiration

The poem I wrote:

Once upon a time
abundant with grass
and giants and sun
she said,

I am afraid
of responsibility
over any life
but mine.

Still you climbed:
no plan, no coin—
and only a bean
in your hand.

Her job absolute
value, her job
inspiration, her
job to breathe.

Forgive her.
It is always
open season
on mothers.

Do not eat the cow,
bless the cow,
the milk.


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