Giovanni Mangiante: “i have to get better”





i have to get better


“you have to get better” says the doctor before i leave his office—

he doesn’t shake my hand and i don’t mind.

i walk out the building, get into a taxi, pull out my phone, open the notepad

“i have to get sober” i write, and slide it down my pocket again.

i look out the car window and i know most of the faces i see

have already given up entirely while others are well on the way.

i look in the rear-view mirror “how is it that i look like?” i think.

when i get home, my father says he’s sure i’ll get better soon 

and suggests going out for dinner. i say okay, but when we get there

my mind is somewhere else and i can’t enjoy the food nor the moment.

“a lot of people don’t have a good father like yours” i think to myself, 

and the guilt doesn’t make the situation any easier to endure.

i pull out my phone again and write “i have to get sober”

then i look at my father and he vanishes; the plates, the food, 

the silverware, the table too. people’s voices suddenly go underwater 

and the restaurant is finally an empty crater with me in the middle.

i pull my phone out again—my nerves fractured and sharp

“i have to get better. i have to get better. i have to get better” i write.

i slide my phone down my pocket and look up—everything comes back. 

my father takes a bunch of fries to his mouth, and smiles. 

i smile back.



About the Author: Giovanni Mangiante is a poet from Lima, Peru. He has work published in Newington Blue Press, Rusty Truck, The Daily Drunk, Anti-Heroin Chic, Heroin Love Songs, Rat’s Ass Review, Three Rooms Press, and more. He has upcoming poems in The Piker Press and Synchronized Chaos. In writing, he found a way to cope with BPD.


Image Credit: Jack E. Boucher. ” INTERIOR VIEW OF EAST END OF DINER – Bob’s Yankee Diner, Route 20, Charlton, Worcester County, MA” The Library of Congress

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