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!


Due to several mishaps at the airport, among them TSA thinking my foil-wrapped burrito was a dangerous object, I was empty-stomached and it was 12 minutes from gate closing. I had been warned. Near my gate, about fifty people waited in a line to buy bagels. Feeling sheepish but desperate, and in my desperation resolute, I proposed a bargain to the woman at the front of the line: “May I write you a poem in exchange for slipping in front of you?”

The Stranger: Ginger

The Word: Sun

The poem I wrote:

“Nature measures nothing. Nobody needs this much sunlight.”
–Jeanette Winterson

This is a humble house, we have bare feet and we eat
Our feet stuck in mud
but not forever. Beans
the sun. This house
has many rooms
and it is
This house is full
of women. Each woman
a room,
a gate
to the world, each
with a beanstalk
of inheritances. The
of life
curled complete inside each bare humble walled woman.


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