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 TEDx Boise, Boise speakers shared “ideas worth spreading.” The first speakers were Justin and Patrick, best friends since birth who shared an amazing story. After a progressive neurological disorder left Justin wheelchair-bound and without use of his hands, Patrick offered to push him toward a dream: completing the Camino de Santiago, a mountainous pilgrimage route that crosses Northern Spain. They ended their talk with a question: “Who are you going to push?” (Sidenote: you can watch TEDx Boise here.)

The Strangers: Justin and Patrick

Their Word: Push

The poem I wrote:

She asks, “Did someone
build us?” just
as she falls
asleep. In the day

it is: “If you die, who
will be my mother?”

Her questions
push me
to where
I am wordless,
I am only-animal.

No, dear one, nobody else

will be your mother. I have
answers for her but they are not
the ones
she wishes for. So I answer

with my body, brushing over

her ever-asking mouth,
the invisible hair, whispering

nothing into her wild
living ears.


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