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There’s nothing to indicate that this evening’s 20-minute amble to the Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum will end differently. We take to the block like another of our twilight strolls. Down 150th, greeting neighbors and their dogs. Up Broadway, passing the flower shop, Taqueria San Pedro, a bodega that smells inexorably of frying bacon. Along 153rd, the cemetery to our left walled off by gothic concrete and iron-slat gates. And back down Amsterdam, the litter of Styrofoam, plastic bags, empties, trees clotted by discarded wrappers and shit, except for the church by 152nd whose constituents are invariably kind and welcoming and who make a concerted effort to maintain their area.

Rosetta does quick piss-upons, mawkish marks her spot, seeming almost sad or ashamed to be asserting her presence. She sniffs at noisome interests. She raises her hackles at unassuming brothers and sisters.

It could’ve been anything, really. It could’ve been a cat in the road. It could’ve been miscommunicated direction. It could’ve been my fault. It could’ve been my finest hour. More… “The Canon of Guilt”

Brian Birnbaum grew up just outside Baltimore. An MFA graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, his work has been published or is forthcoming in The Collagist, Atticus Review, 3AM Magazine, and more. Brian is a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA) working in development for the family communications access business. He lives in Harlem with MK Rainey and their dog.

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