The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Photo by Ethan Miller/Reuters

The Mandalay


The water flows to our valley through pipes
and fills a tank. Sharks swim there. Circling.
Circling themselves in the confines of a crystal clear cage.

People stare and smile and circle themselves,
about and about the exhibit. Who would’ve thunk?
A shark, here, in the middle of the desert.

The water flows to our valley through pipes
and flows through many more and
finally rains down upon golf greens and gardens.

The flowers bloom and the grounds grow
and the sun singes away at their edges,
browning and blurring,
crumbling and turning,
overexposed to the bright lights
of our valley.

But how?

Its heavy metal hand,
the metal wind,
stiffened the stocks and stems.
It’s taken the heart of life and lifted it from its mother,
laid it out upon the land which was never meant
to foster so much life, no, no not like this;
never meant to orchestrate such obscurities.

We brought what was not meant to thrive in a land
with a specific kind of alive
and we worshipped the gods of backwards ways
cups filled, dues payed, a blatant disregard for the worth of our days.
We worshipped the night, and set our eyes upon
synthetic stars and street lights.

The water flows to our valley through pipes.
We flipped nature on its head and we wonder:
Why did this happen? How could this happen?

I fear we’ve forgotten the power of our passions,
the prayers offered through actions,
and now it’s taken its toll.

The water flows to our valley through pipes
and we wonder how something so unnatural,
so antithetical to life could find itself here…
in our valley.


Hannah Arin is a junior at Pitzer College pursuing a double major in religious studies and philosophy. 

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