failed ode to justin bieber, as pictured in the poster i tore out of tiger beat and kept taped to the ceiling above my bed for all of sixth grade
by Lip Manegio

justin, let me tell you one time
i used to be dizzy for you / you, who knew
my boyhood before i did
sometimes, i would dream
of being with you / of being you

the lines blurred until they weren’t there

& i would wake up to you
smiling in a purple zip up

once, i spent hours in picasa editing photos of you
into a collage just to set it as my desktop wallpaper
i think what i was actually trying to make
was a mirror / my mother

called it girlhood / a crush

justin, do you think its funny
that she saw those things as intrinsic
do you think its funny that i thought
this was how i could become girl / justin
do you think its funny that

i would look at you & see anything

but dysphoria / justin, it’s not that
i blame you / for any of it, any more than i blame
every other tween heartthrob of the late aughts

that i clumsy-handed taped to my walls

i just / think its funny that
everything i used to love / so shamelessly
is now just a warning sign/ in the rearview
mirror / or a neon light / hanging / above my bed
justin / i want to love something / like that
again, i want / to be shameless / again
i want / to want / again

Lip Manegio is queer, trans nonbinary poet currently based in Boston. Their work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Flypaper Magazine, Crab Fat Magazine, the minnesota review, Tin House, and elsewhere. They are the author of We've All Seen Helena (Game Over Books, 2019).