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I am a House Bunting.

Birders go around and watch birds. They keep a list of birds that they have
seen and seek those which can fill a hole in their list. Birders can love me, but they
only love me for seconds. I am only unique for one second, before I become city
back wash. I guess I dont take it personally. Who would travel around the world and
spend time loving some other cities own street rat? Birders are used to using their
binoculars to spot new birds (lifers) from far away, but I instead walk to their feet
and pick up the tiny crumb that sits beside that cigarette bud.
They come in their own flocks, in groups of two or three, landing in Marrakech
before they transfer over to Ourika. They plan on seeking the rare birds of the Atlas
Mountains and other deep corners of back country for almost eleven days. Morocco
aint too bad of a birding destination. They dont need their professional guides to
identify me, I dont need that attention. All I get is a tap on the shoulder as one of
the birders points me out from the first window, in the first airport, in the first hour.
Look a House Bunting. I am lucky if I get a nice! I am traditionally considered
sacred, but most just recognize me as the small sparrow that chirps and blends in
with pigeons.

I am a necklace.
My one purpose is to harness the magical energy from King Solomon. Its not
easy. My chain scarves my host like any necklace, but the trinket at the end is
different. Dead pieces of a Hoopoe bird comfort inside my trinket. The scraps of
bone, skin, and distinctive feathers dont rattle as we walk around, because they are
so tightly encapsulated. Im not the magical one; its the Hoopoe who shares a
connection with the king. The king used the beautiful features of the Hoopoe, more

specifically its magnificent crest and crown, to entice the Queen of Sheba. The
Hoopoe was shuttled and scuttled in the handbags of messengers between the king
and queen, between Judea and Sheba. Now I only encircle the wizards in
Marrakechs Sorcerers Souk, resting on their shoulders, as they explain my magical
power to travelers.
I feel powerful, that part is true. I am told day after day that I embody magic.
This makes me feel powerful. But once, the shoulders head was asked what I can
do: Whats its trick? The Souk Sorcerer paused. I dont have a trick. Thats tricky.
After one week of hanging low, I realized that I didnt need a trick to feel powerful. I
dont need magic. From there on out, I puff out my chest and say screw it, Im

I am not a taxonomist
Its a bird.
I am a taxonomist
It is a Moroccan wagtail (Motacilla alba supersonata). Some might say it is
enough to call it a white wagtail. I say it isnt. This population is isolated and they
look a fairly different from the world population of white wagtail, so I must include
subspecies. In fact sometimes the northern population of Moroccan wagtail might
mix with the occasional nominate species from Europe (Motacilla alba alba), so I
would classify the northern population as northern Moroccan wagtail (Motacilla alba
supersonata borealis). But now that I think about it, in that one city in Tangier the
sun is a little less bright so the birds have a fraction tone more white so Ill call them
(Motacilla alba supersonata borealis minutalba). But that reminds me, I once saw a
pair of birds that nested in a mess of electrical wire so those birds will be called

(Motacilla alba supersonata borealis minutalba electrica). Wasnt one of those birds
missing an eye?
They are wearing a turban so they live in the Middle East; no North Africans;
no Northwest Africans; no Moroccans; no North of the Atlas Mountains; no he is from
Tangier; no he lives in Bassatine (a district); no right off of Avenue Anfa; no the
house with the brown roof. Wheres his other eye?
Im not a taxonomist.
Its a human.

We are a platoon.
On my count Three Two move, move, move! Dip, Dodge, Dip, Swoop,
Dip, Duck, Dive, Dip. They are a band of sly brothers. We are so quick its almost
impossible to identify us as individuals. We dont necessarily move as one, but
move as one coordinated chaos. We dont get up at crack of dawn, because thats
too predictable. Code name: Little is master of stealth, responsible for scouting out
the enemies. Code name: Pallid is master of strength, responsible for dive bomb
attacks. Code name: Common is master of ordinary disguise, in charge of all
communication and coordination. Code name: Alpine is in charge of it all. Team:
Alpha Swift, mission: catch bugs, target: bugs.
Some say it is hard to tell the difference between a swallow and us, but to the
trained eye, a true soldier and warrior, we are not even part of the same family.
While resting, swallows are too obvious. They are worthless passerines or perching
birds, sitting like ducks on wires and ledges. But team alpha swift will cling
inconspicuously to cliffs and vertical walls like a confused bat before striking in the
element of surprise.

If you see the flash of a swift with a bright white rump, you know Little has
cornered you. If you see a black and brown flash of hopelessness, then you dont
know if youre dealing with the merciless Pallid, the all-knowing Common, or the
deadly duo. But nothing can be worse than when the white bellied, white throated
swift king arrives on scene and blots out the Moroccan sun.

I am Frances left boot.

Packed away in the steamy suitcase I thought I was never going to see the
Moroccan daylight. I was convinced of my fate because the woman kept choosing
the flimsy sandals to walk the streets of Marrakesh. Gosh I hate those sandals. My
mother once told me never to be jealous of other shoes, but I dont even consider
those to be shoes. If the woman were to miss a bus, would she rather be wearing
me or them as she runs after it? But then I remember why. The right boot. Im sure
you know the type, always squeaking away. Im a smooth rider; easy to travel with,
convenient, and helpful. The right boot on the other foot could get booted. I mean,
who could come up with so many things to complain about, but then again without
the right boot, the woman wouldnt need a left boot. And then neither of us would
get to travel.
The zipper silenced the right boot as we both waited to see if she would grab
us sure enough! The thick socks told me we were going on a hike, but no matter
how thick, I could still smell the stink of sandal sweat. The right boot was tied first
and me next. The dust and sand felt exquisite against my false leather. Like a kid in
an ice cream shop, I stuck out my tongue in excitement. Look up! The woman was

talking to me. Its a Booted Eagle