It is sometimes said they are de las urracas, these beggars of Talahra, who, with rags and palm leaves, build nests in the city’s tight alleyways; who do not work or swear and who eat only infrequently.
At dusk they leave their alleys and collect the stray bits of the day. They search out those doorsteps on which old women have left fruit and unleavened bread. They lift their feet only slightly, no dust rises with their passing.
Among them a man named Bernard has worn away his teeth. He grinds his food into a mild pulp with his finger and calloused palm, using the small stones of the fruit to crush what will not give.
During the day he folds his legs into the stray ribbon and paper of his nest. And he carefully fills his mouth with smoke so that his prayers might have more weight.