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!


Carolyn used to work in human resources for the Nevada gold mines, waking each day in the early mining hours. Now she has retired into managing a terrific little health store called Nature’s Corner in Winnemucca, which is where we met her on a drive from California to Idaho.

The Stranger: Carolyn 

Her Word: Traveler

The poem I wrote:

When you’re caught between

the sky and the road, a traveler,
the desert is something that owns

you. You belong to those spaces,
grateful for whatever it is you find.

Going home to own things and draw
water up from our own soil

is what we both thirst for and fear.
Any other country’s full moon

free of its clouds is always
brighter than ours: we will carry it

homeward, feeling its infant lightness
in our road-weary arms.

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