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!


At the zoo, Canada geese were nesting and did not want to be bothered. Avoiding geese, we made it to the carousel. My babies were the only two in line, holding up their quarters hopefully. Zach let them ride all by themselves.

The Stranger: Zach

The Word: Kindness

The poem I wrote:

In part, for Gulshan

Five oak trees
stand behind
my house:

to think
anyone could own
a tree—

a tree,
its leaves mosaicked
to the sky,

indebted to earth,
a kindness

of belonging:
and what these
five oaks

have is a
woman who loves


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