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!


After lunch yesterday I walked around the paths behind Idaho Fish and Game – there are clear waters where you can see the bottom and there are also enormous fish (one of them ate my daughter’s bracelet once when it fell off her wrist!) This stranger works there; I met him crossing the long wooden bridge.

The Stranger: Scott

His Word: Sustainability

The poem I wrote:

Once I heard a girl on a bus
ask her dad, is it tomorrow
yet? Sustainability makes small
sense to brains our size: if
we have it why not use it
all up? But in increments,
maybe not on the bus but
by the stream, we must know
in our bones that salmon
are turning red, readying
to spawn and then die,
conserving nothing: it muds
the mind to think of it,
we who spawn and live,
who are left squinting
sideways at the day after
and the day after before
we sink all the way down.

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