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!


My daughter asks of dog-owners when she wants to touch their dog, “Is your dog comfortable with children?” (She sometimes asks it of parents too: “Is your baby comfortable with children?”)

“Yes and thanks for asking!” Joslyn replied to the question. She was walking two dachshund-Chihuahua mixes—a boy and his mother—and she held each one so we could pet them.

The Stranger: Joslyn 

Her Word: Tantalizing

The poem I wrote:

Then there is the work
of being a body
for someone.
Yearning comes in all
colors but the purplest
by far is to be
needed: it is tantalizing
to say to a person,
nobody matters more
than you. Such

words spider darkly
beneath the skin
like a bruise
or a baby or an ocean:
swelling up, hungry,

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