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!


Katy is training to become a board-certified midwife. I met her briefly at a conference and then saw her again this week. We talked about the essays she wrote to get certified. And she gave me a word.

The Stranger: Katy

Her Word: Triumph

The poem I wrote:

Each winter I reflect
on waste: how much
trash it takes to make

a feast or a person,
how fatly the world
jams itself full

with discarded objects:

old wishbones,
fragile ideas hatched
and broken like eggs.

It is a triumph when
nothing gets wasted:
but we know it is almost

too much to wish for.


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