BONES OF ANONYMOUS CHILDREN
At the southwest corner of Tlachihualtepetl
the skeletal remains of two sacrificed children
were unearthed. There was evidence of cranial
irregularities—deformed babies skull-smashed
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 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. We’d never clean that up.
Dylan Brennan is an Irish writer currently based in Mexico. His poetry, essays and memoirs have been published in a range of international journals, in English and Spanish. His first full collection, Blood Oranges, for which he was awarded the runner-up prize in the Patrick Kavanagh Award, was published in November 2014 by The Penny Dreadful Press. Atoll, a mini collection of poetry, is available as a free download from Smithereens Press.
In 2014 he was shortlisted for the Fish International Short Memoir Prize.