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