An Unclean Slate

These slates are hard to clean,

Jagged as their edges are –

There are shards ripped away by the wind,

And splinters that shudder and glean.


There are blades left in this stone,

And other crevices, curved and blunted –

Weaknesses, one may suppose,

Unable to draw blood or break bone.


But these blades are stealthily sharp,

And there's no scrubbing the dirt away –

The years of salted blood,

The bloody tears of yesterday.


I can't clear the moss from these engravings,

We forgot their meaning long ago –

The words are buried beneath decay,

Lost to the roots of rocks below.


Well I can fashion us new slates,

And chalk into them our names –

As it's far too dangerous to set in stone

The uncertainties of our fates.


But would the stone be too thick,

And our names in silver –

Would our slates then stand upright in the ground?

It's a dirty slate or a gravestone – you pick.


Because to me renewal is a death,

And perhaps I don't want a clean slate after all –

Because these blades, this moss, these crevices

Document each rise and every fall.


So I'll keep my slate, I think,

Cracked as it is with ruinous shadows –

Because I'd rather have these pieces missing,

Than be complete, but a stranger to my soul.