And they call this the Theseus’ ship paradox: The great hero returned triumphant And left his ship in some Athenian harbor, A floating reminder of his victory Until it began to rot. If I replace the broken parts with new ones, Is it still Theseus’ ship? How much is something allowed to change Before it becomes something else? The floorboards fell apart and Now there’s fresh ones where they lay. The oars were switched out, The figurehead repainted— I have a new favorite song. And I like black beans now, And I draw eyes differently than I used to, And I’ve set fire to my bridges And built new ones where they stood. Bits of my personality wear away, The gaps are filled in by someone else— How long until I’m no longer recognizable? If my future self is a stranger to me, If I can no longer stand where I once stood And see what I once saw, If I’m not who I once was Am I still Theseus’ ship? Or some other vessel now, One that should be familiar but isn’t, A lingering sense of deja vu? If you replace every part of something Will they call it a paradox? Or will they just call it growth? And does it matter? Whether this is the ship Or just a ship? It floats, after all, And it’s mine. —Amanda Budejen Illustration by Charlotte Rica.