I google disability for depression.

They’ll want to know how crazy I am before

I can benefit. They want to know how many

hospitals I’ve slept in. I can’t walk

to the mailbox some days.

I can’t boil the water. I forget

to feed the cat, change the litter.

She bites my feet when I walk passed the couch.

She scratches my face after I give her a treat.

My mother calls her manicomio. Insane asylum.

The place. Not a person

in that place. I put on lipstick the other day.

My sister thought I was cured.

I bought fishnet tights and started watching porn.

And I wanted to make a beautiful sound with the others

on the screen. Like the time at Lake Tahoe,

a group of us chanted to the Devil and then a woman

went missing on the mountain.

Or when another patient asked me about electroshock therapy.

He said I seemed normal

and could help him make the right choice.

I don’t remember what I told him.

I might’ve said do it, might’ve said don’t.

I might’ve said nothing, mind in the ICU

days before when I promised the paramedic

that if he told me a story I would stay awake

long enough for him to put the tube down my throat.

He didn’t tell me a story, but the tube

lived inside me for two nights. And they strapped

my arms to the bed. Listen, little Madeline.

We aren’t much different. I’d gouge

the eyes of anyone

trying to keep me alive.


Diannely Antigua is a Dominican American poet and educator, born and raised in Massachusetts. She is currently an MFA candidate at New York University, a Squaw Valley Community of Writers fellow, and Associate Poetry Editor for BOAAT. Her book Ugly Music, forthcoming from YesYes Books, was chosen for the 2017 Pamet River Prize. Winner of the Bodega Poetry Contest, her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her poems can be found in Day One, Vinyl, Split Lip Magazine, Cosmonauts Avenue, Reservoir, and elsewhere. Her heart is in Brooklyn.