by Elizabeth Challinor

To reach out

And strike up a conversation 

With a stranger 

Or allow your eyes to meet 

With the quiet warmth of a smile

During a fleeting moment 

Of a shared experience 

You could 

Just as easily ignore 


To acknowledge 

The wider ripples of communities 

We belong to

The vulnerabilities 

We all share

The hopes, desires and fears

We cultivate and incubate

And no 

I won't end the poem with care

To rhyme with what we share

To deliberately strike up a conversation 

With a stranger 

Can be

A deeply 

Political act

Of citizenship 

Inspired in:

Isin, Engin F. 2008. “Theorizing Acts of Citizenship.” In Acts of Citizenship, edited by Engin F. Isin and Gregory M. Nielson, 15–43. London: Zed Books.

Elizabeth Challinor