Variations on a Theme

by Jessica Lohafer

Birds and People

*For Darci Duncan

When you are always renting,
you become familiar with never
owning a thing. You can relax
into your temporary state,
not knowing when
your landlord might kick you out.

The house is riddled with other
people’s clothes, furniture,
boyfriends. You might not be
the first person to hang that painting
but it looks better here, anyway

Down the street, your roommate
is rummaging through a free pile.
Yesterday, she was at the bins
Every time you see her,
she’s wearing something new
Hasn’t paid full price in years

You wonder if you can learn
how to wear a stranger’s clothes
with grace. Worry that the previous
owner will laugh at your attempts
with their leather jacket.

Until you see your roommate,
grinning, again, at her latest find.
Peacock feathers pinned in her hair,
you would never doubt
that they belonged together.