A Father’s Instructions on Survival
By Colin Gilbert

when they come for your perfection
bless them for highlighting your faults
removing the weight from your spine

when they come for your virtue
tell them you have plenty to spare
enough for both

when they come for your words
thank them for reminding
you have said things worth repeating

when they come bearing torches
greed stuffed in their cheeks
hungry to gnaw upon your humanity
give them a fingerprint

when they appear on your doorstep
heavy parasites of personality

when they charge upon you histories
all want beasts and lust hounds

when they come for your reputation
your morality      you character      your honor
as countries composed of gasoline hands

when they build a bonfire of your good parts
from the invisible construction of you
give them the flint rock

but when they come for your skin
offer bone sharpened to spear

Colin Gilbert is a freelance editor and writer living in Texas. In addition to being awarded the Hughes, Diop, Knight Literary Award and the 2013 National Poetry Awards haiku contest, his poetry can be found in a number of anthologies and journals nationwide. His first collection of poetry, The Mattress Parlor, was published by Scribble Fire Press in 2011. Right now, he is most likely in a library reading poetry with a cold Dr. Pepper by his side. This poem will appear in the anthology, Seeing the Unseen.