The Post’s DeNeen L. Brown has a tendency to indulge in a little emotional pandering in her heart-breaking features on metro news. She’s clearly reaching for poetry, but the result is sometimes too sweet to swallow. Her story on the murders of four girls in Southeast felt particularly tasteless given the seriousness of the subject. The piece begins with a strange riff on the word “afterward.”

“There is always someone who saw something strange. Afterward. Sucked her teeth and smelled a peculiar smell. Afterward.

Noticed an abnormal silence. Afterward.

Thinking it strange the furniture was in the back yard. Afterward.

Wondering where the children could have gone.”

And continues with overwrought, impressionistic ruminations on the neighborhood. One particularly purple passsage:

“The rain is falling, a heavy, angry rain, smearing ink on the signs. Water is gushing from the storm sewers, pouring down the sidewalk into the black street, as if to wash away what happened… Water is gushing down the canal off Valley Avenue, as if it has somewhere to go, running to shout the sad news.”

Several readers left their own impressions on the Post’s website:

“The writing in this article is as ghastly as the subject matter.”

And

“Deneen – Afterwards. What’s your point?”

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