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© Written by Joan McNerney Those are tough trees growing in slums With no need of rich soil or pruning, they rise in abandoned lots. These are trees that survive rubbish, rodents, noxious chemicals. Not easily cut down, they stand against gaunt tenements. Climbing skyward, delicate palm leaves flourish flowering pods. These trees of heaven give children glimpses of bright emerald each morning. The stars play peek-a-boo between their branches through long nights. Who said a taste of paradise is only for the rich?

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