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The New American Nostalgia

First Place Winner - 2017 Poetry Contest

The election happened and now you’re driving north.
November freezes in the birch trees. The fields
have nothing left. In Wisconsin where you pass them
the hills go rolling autumn through the cold.
You’re home again. The edges of the clouds
turn gray. You change the station of the radio.
Near Osseo, a V of geese blend thin against the skyline
and retreat. You change the radio again. The news
is everything at once, then nothing. A whitetail pauses
in the grass. Later, you’re sitting at a wooden table
with a friend. A man you’ve known for half your life,
he’s hacking at a turkey leg. The democrats, he says.
The republicans, you say. In kitchen-light
the field beyond the window fills with snow
and cattle, the early blue of evening. Look, he says,
they’re lonely. All of us are lonely. On the radio,
Miles Davis sends a distant trumpet through the house.
Your memory erases you and makes you over.
When you were younger, lying in his room at night,
lying on the carpet, it used to be the two of you, the dark
surrounding you. The music pushing homeward through the song

Contributors

Nicholas Gulig is a Thai-American poet from Wisconsin. He is the first-place winner of the Wisconsin People & Ideas 2017 Poetry Contest. Educated in Montana, Iowa, and Colorado, Gulig earned a Fulbright Fellowship to Bangkok, Thailand, in 2011.

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