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!


The day my biography was officially released, my computer died. This seemed appropriate, an enforced way to avoid what author Karen Russell calls “the weird exile between books.” Francis, who works at Harvard IT, was my first stop on my journey to fixed. He fixed the problem—temporarily. But fixed or not, he infused my morning with joy.

The Stranger: Francis

The Word: Loyalty

The poem I wrote:

Slung together

at day’s end,

nothing left

to bear, just

us to our gentle

boat returning;

and it is all such

sweetness, water

lapping, this

loyalty, nights in

this weathered

bed, so right

here and sweet.


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