Dylan Brennan




At the southwest corner of Tlachihualtepetl

the skeletal remains of two sacrificed children

were unearthed. There was evidence of cranial

irregularities – deformed babies skullsmashed

for ritual. Everyone knew the stainless

souls of the very young were the messengers

that Tláloc could never refuse. When the rains

fell hard upon Cholulan farms it was clear the murder

of youngsters was a necessary horror. It made sense.

It had purpose. I suppose we can’t really judge the past 

from our point of view, from our lens. All we can do is mark 

it appropriately and make sure there is a suitable place 

here where people can come and remember the babies that died. 

And so it is marked at the foot of arguably the largest

pyramid on the planet (church plonked atop)

and tourists can know the ancient evils of sacrifice.

A child asks a guide why the pyramid – with its trees

and grass and squirrels – looks still like a hillock.

He is told (and the adults listen too) how a proper

excavation of the site would untangle the muscular

roots of millennial trees, upsetting the soils of gods

and men. An unholy mess. The spiritual and physical

constructs of all those years would come crashing

down around us. Sure we’d never clean that up.




Dylan Brennan’s poetry and prose have been published in a range of Irish and international journals, in English and Spanish. Atoll, a mini collection of poetry, will soon be available as a free download from Smithereens Press and his first full collection, Blood Oranges, will be published in 2015 by The Penny Dreadful Press. His work is forthcoming in gorse. He has been shortlisted for the Fish Short Memoir Prize and has taken part in the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. He lives and works in Mexico.