At The San Juan Cemetery In Puerto Rico

At the San Juan Cemetery in Puerto Rico

Red roses climb up from the graves on the quiet hillside,
To gently caress marble benches.
From out of the laurel
Sounds the sweet and enticing songs of the birds
A stone angel listens.
A thick carpet of ivy covers a winding path,
Crawling everywhere —
Until at last even the path is lost.
A mountain of bleached bones grows high.
No money, no grave!
Here lie the exiled, no cross for them and no bragging memorials.
Gypsies, beggars, fidgety musicians.
Oh how the sun shines on their skulls!
I take off my hat and greet these relatives,
Those that didn’t pay their last rent.

-Hanns Heinz Ewers
translation by Joe Bandel