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Flame trees in Havana, dropping their petals int he street. Source: Caridad, Havana TimesFlame trees in Havana, dropping their petals in the street. Source: Caridad, Havana Times

Regina Coyula, 3 October 2016 — A powerful flamboyán tree, in English often called a flame tree, dominates the entrance to my house, more beautiful at this time of year with its explosion of fire, which also provides shade and spreads its colorful petals across the ground.

But two of my neighbors don’t see it that way; they dislike the dirtiness of it and feel obliged to sweep the sidewalk almost every day. And they protest greatly, but I never feel it’s about me, even though the other day they were gossiping and not imagining that I could hear them, one of them said, “I’m breaking my back over that filth, and ‘la Señora’ (a marked edginess in señora), who owns the bush acts like it’s nothing.”

I am not the owner of the flame tree, I didn’t plant it, it is in the parking strip and it is beautiful; and the señora sounded very nice coming from one trying to mark a difference between us. And so, without reaching for her style — inimitable for me as I am neither volatile nor rude — to her surprise I told that that the flame tree isn’t mine, but the red flowers that line the sidewalk don’t bother me at all, unlike the bags, cans, boxes and other trash that lines the city, product of indolent humans.


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