Blue Mesa Review Issue 44

Page 16

1st Place Fiction 2021 Summer Contest “Farewell Address to the Last Mango in the Pacific Northwest” uses an imagined historical document to explore a future in which the land has been given back to Indigenous peoples, and globalization and dependence on colonized economies have been replaced by local supply chains and sustainable agricultural practices. Yet “Farewell Address” explores a moment not of triumph, but of grief, centering that grief as central to the path that leads to change. As one last mango is passed around a crowd at a speech that functions as a ritual closure to the unsustainable past, the assembled audience has mixed reactions, just as there is conflict among community elders in advance of the ceremony. People openly weep; they grow anxious or angry over letting go of the mango; they are afraid. Rather than imagining a future utopia without collective grief, fear, and conflict, “Farewell Address” posits these emotions as central to liberation, and asks whether finding collective ways of mourning might be the key to making such a future possible.

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Zeyn Joukhadar

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