Ship of Theseus

The other day I realized I wasn’t me.
The me I was when I was
a cloud’s infinite possible shapes.
A Ship of Theseus: the original ship,
stored in a museum, slowly rots away
and its parts are gradually replaced.
Eventually none of the original parts remains.
Is it still the same ship? I think of how weak
my hands were in the music library
listening to Berlioz. How rough they are
washing my daughter’s bottles.
My eyes are a different mood.
I have been repurposed to live for someone else.
In a nearby warehouse, the original ship parts
are stored and re-pieced into a corpse.
Which is the ship? Neither, knowing real things,
like music, take no body.
One or the other if conflict is psalm.
Both, with the same aim of survival.
Both, with loss as the same mother.

Copyright © Rodney Gomez. This poem originally appeared in
Smartish Pace. Used with permission of the author.