October 2, 2022


Travel Finishes First

At the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino

2 min read

There are flamingos
in the Flamingo Habitat
at the Flamingo Las Vegas Resort and Casino—
8 pink birds,
each and every balancing itself
on a single twig-like leg.

And there are
a number of full-size mirrors
fixed to trees
in the Flamingo Habitat,
which the flamingos
gaze into attentively.

I ask the caretaker,
who is aggressively
chasing absent ducks
and feeding the fish and other birds,
why there are comprehensive-duration mirrors
in the Flamingo Habitat.

She clarifies that flamingos
like to see other flamingos
around them,
and that as four of the eight flamingos
have been briefly eradicated
for medical care,
mirrors were being placed in the habitat
in their stead.

And my initial imagined
is that flamingos are like Jews,
sharing in common
this complete need
to be surrounded by their individual.
There have been complete months
when I’ve not created it
to synagogue or Sabbath foods
in Rhode Island,
but as shortly as I’m off
to a new metropolis or state,
I’m compelled to seek out Jews there.

But on 2nd imagined,
flamingos are not like Jews.
For the flamingos don’t invest
all of their time
gazing in the mirrors.
They glimpse close to.
You learn only so substantially
gazing in the mirror.
Most American Jews know nothing at all
about Jews in Israel.
Most Reform Jews know absolutely nothing
about national-religious Jews.
Most Conservative Jews know very little
about haredi Jews.
As S. Ansky mentioned,
“there is no other People who can communicate so a great deal about alone
and still know alone so little as the Jews.”
Some episodes of Fauda and Shtisel
do not transform this,
nor does consuming hummus or herring.


An earlier version of this poem appeared in JewThink.

See below for extra poems and stories by Shai Afsai.

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