For Sabine Springer

That’s what she said,
‘Every seven years
almost every cell in our body is replaced.’
I thought of her own art,
how faithfully she rendered
the miraculous lines, the miraculous lives,
of feather and bone—

and I remembered an oak rib,
honeycombed with shipworm,
given as a keepsake to another friend,
who had sailed from Dublin to the Faroes
in a wooden fishing hooker,
which was later rebuilt.

These boats are rebuilt, renamed,
until every plank and rib has been replaced so often
that nothing remains
except the boat’s original lines
and a piece of silver,
hidden under the mast.