And N’Sync Stills Find Their Way Into My Playlist

In marionette grace, they dangle on track five of my mix CD.

Joey stumbles from speakers and hands me my younger days

in the form of pre-signed posters and B.U.M. equipment t-shirts.

Justin and Lance are in the back seat waving their arms side to side

above their heads, while they start up karaoke to the next track on the CD.

Joey reminds me to pull over to grab Chris and JC at the mall,

then tells me Waldenbooks closed before I could get my last book order.

I grip the steering wheel and drive my memories as the last interstate

between my twenties and my forties, and divert long enough

to refill my car and place track five on repeat.

I watch N’Sync rewind with every reiteration of their song, 

then jerk forward when their song starts back up.

They bounce and jump around into glitch dance moves

and scratch surface lyrics.

Each play of the song wears them down 

until they have gray hair and the years starts to wrinkle 

at the corners of their eyes.

I watch their limbs stretch and thin, then become knots

with every story I revisit, and I can recite every broken heart

and new friendship to the lyrics of their song

on track five of my mix CD.

By the time I return home from another midday commute, 

N’Sync are whispers and I let them become ghosts

as they fade into outlines

as each play grinds down the memories

into flashbacks and footnotes upon my tongue.

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