by Steve Margolin

Shlayma Zalman!
Shlayma Zalman!

Agami Heron Agamia agami hunting on the morning at the lowlands of Costa Rica, Chris Jimenez, Wikimedia CommonsI am here.
Go to the bridge. An agami is there.
An agami? At the bridge? Where Clear Creek runs, its west branch?
The bridge where the agami is. It is downstream.
An agami heron? You know, Agamia agami?
Yes. I know. Go to the bridge. An agami is there.
I know that bridge and that creek.
Where the agami is?
Yes, I have been there. A few times.
Go to the bridge. An agami is there. Look downstream.
The day is hot. Before the bridge, where the forest closes in, it gets buggie.
Yes, but an agami is there.
And here, screened, under the fan, there is a breeze and no mosquitoes.
And no agami.

It won’t be there. Or maybe just beyond the bend. Or maybe right before me, hidden.
Go to the bridge. An agami is there. Look. Downstream.
I see the stream, a slight bar of sand and pebbles, an eddy behind. Leaves catch and swirl.
Which stream? Where the agami is?
Yes, that one. Will I see him?
Or her. Does it matter?
I suppose not.
Go to the bridge. An agami is there. See. Downstream.
I will catch in the eddy. I will swirl.
You are not a leaf.
Or be carried in the current. Where?
Go to the bridge. An agami is there. Downstream. The current carries you.
To the bridge?
Go to the bridge. An agami is there.



About the poet: Steve Margolin (Shlayma Zalman)  is an experienced birder who has led birdwatching trips in Central Amerca and East Africa. He is a Cantorial student in the ALEPH Cantorial Program, and serves as Student Cantor at Congregation Beth Israel in Chico, California.

 This agami is becoming a regular character for me.  They are neotropical-subtropical, in South America, Central America and into Mexico.  I saw one in western Belize, at Chan Chich.  They generally are shy and do not wish to be seen.  For me, agami is a symbol of splendor just beyond my field of view, which I might have a better chance of actually encountering were I to be able to let go and let the flow take me where it will.  There are two creeks (Chan Chich Creek in Belize and Clear Creek in Butte Valley) and two bridges (one over each creek) in the poem.

–Steve Margolin


Featured image (at top): Agami heron (Agamia agami) juvenile, Cristalino Lodge, Brazil, Charles J. Sharp, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore the symbolism of butterflies and dragonflies, or return to the Gateway of Wings.