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 husband and I took a trip to San Francisco sans babies this past weekend. Perhaps because we had fewer people to organize, we were less organized. Exhibit A: He forgot his ID. I went through security while he looped back outside to meet his sister, who had found the missing ID and was driving it to the airport….

While I waited at the gate, I chatted with Troy, a Southwest Air employee. I asked if he took advantage of all the free travel and he said yes, definitely. He added that he always plans for a day of chaos on either end, due to the uncertainties of standby travel. Then we peered down the terminal and Troy asked: “Do you see your husband yet?” I told Troy that my husband would be wearing red shoes and probably running.

A minute later, my husband walked peacefully, ID in hand, toward the gate – with three minutes to spare before they closed the flight. Troy’s comment? “Now that’s how to be on vacation!”

The Stranger: Troy

His Word: Vacation

The poem I wrote:

Like playing catch
with our reflection,
on vacation
we seek the best view
of our own life.

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