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!


A pair of puppeteers named Afsaneh and Anna came through Boise for a day after spending a week performing at schools throughout the Pacific Northwest. I had the chance to handle two of their puppets: a chicken that springs its head around and a wooden Baba Yaga-looking woman.

The Strangers: Afsaneh and Anna

Their Word: Puppeting

The poem I wrote: 

under the glimmer of water, under the streetlights on the bridge, under the whine of the planes leaving comet-traces at night, under the flash of running shoes hanging from telephone wires, under the weather, under the wire, under the car. Under the monster’s belly, under the puppeting fronds of ferns, under the aura of the city through the V of the hills on full-moon night, under the tiny sparks from a tiny fire (the stars lit up our faces, the lights dimmed the stars). Next to the fireplace, the husband, the lying-down dog. Next to the boots, next to the Queen of Hearts, next to the television that seems never to have worked. Next door to the house that has been toilet papered again, and this time we did not do it. Next to me, next to everyone I love most. In front of the altar, under the heavens, above ourselves we rise. Strike another match, sweet petal. Let’s go under the tent, under the pile of coats, under the roof beams, the blue firs, the ski lift chairs, the taco signs and the starlight all abrim

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