The Famous Poet Lives Secretly Next Door

Listen to Bryan Narendorf reading this poem here. She takes in the paper each morning and leaves the trash by the curb Wednesday nights when there isn’t

a holiday that week. The rooster
weather vane on the roof—
she put it there herself and painted it

green. She could replace
the cracked tile by the kitchen sink
but doesn’t. A boy comes to mow

her lawn each week in the summer,
but the mower and gas can
are hers. She knows Briggs & Stratton

is based in Wisconsin. She hangs
drywall and will soon replace
her washer with one that front-loads.

She can shell 150 pecans by hand
in an hour. She has never liked cats
or parrots and knows never

to cover shrubs in plastic
against frost. In the winter,
when smoke rises from the chimney

of the room attached to her garage,
the neighbors know she is baking
loaves of wheat bread that will be left

on their porches wrapped in foil.
She bakes to mask the aroma
of poems cooling on the window ledge.