Dylan Brennan

Jagua, Bay of Cienfuegos

Dylan Brennan

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In a skylight sunpool of shallow seawater a turtle rests on a bed of rusting wishcoins. 

Squat castle protects the bay from those English pirates. Stone on stone by dragged-in 

slaves from Trinidad. The Lady in Blue still haunts the moat and dungeon. We emerge 

from the darkness of karabiners and cutlasses and a scale model of the bilateral twin

reactor plant that sits still like a mosque, like a sultan on the horizon spied from the 

boat where we stood at the stern beside a man cradling an ancient television in his 

arms like a newborn. The government graffiti on the seawall, Bienvenidos Socialista

From the turret I see the abandoned rectangles of the Soviets, hundreds held on from 

the nineties, still rejecting Perestroika, staying put, hoping, existing somehow in an 

empty nuclear city. Bored horses and cans of sunboiled beer blaze. The Caribbean heat 

is amoral. Smoke from a lizard corpse and my own skin bubbling before my eyes 

drives us to the restaurant. Meaty lobster tail split and grilled with a fillet of wreckfish, 

a musselshell filled with cold octopus flesh, diced with herbs, seven year old rum and 

my face in a bucket of ice. A pelican statue, red kerchief round its beak, stands watch 

over the bay. From the boat back to Cienfuegos, the sugar refinery's stripey chimney 

reminds us of Dublin and eyes down to ooh at the aquatic propulsion of jelly, each bell 

inflating mechanically and expelling renewable water from its organism, an entire 

world blue and gelatinous with a million medusas, one of nature's oldest creatures, her 

most energy efficient children, the locomotion of pulsating umbrellas, all of them, like 

us, dashing somewhere else because they have to, because they can.


Dylan Brennan


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 debut poetry collection, Blood Oranges, for which he received the runner-up prize in the Patrick Kavanagh Award, is available now from The Dreadful Press. Twitter: @DylanJBrennan www.dylanbrennan.org