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!


I met this fabulous stranger on my second-ever ride in a limousine. (My first ended with my getting stranded at midnight at a zoo.)

During the ride, somebody suggested that we all share secrets about ourselves that nobody else on the limo knew (mine was tame: that I used to play rugby. I won’t tell anybody else’s!)

The Stranger: Nikele

Her Word: Random

The poem I wrote:

“I have a cat named Boise, who
wants to be a human being.” – Hemingway

Winter days I am nothing
more than a random ghost

among my papers,
a kind of creature who

digs deep into the red
morning dirt, turning

inexplicably away
from the sun. Who says

hibernation is just a
form of playing dead?

I ask my husband, “Aren’t
you so glad to be married

to such a good animal?”

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