Guadalajara: The Policeman

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Jose Luis poses for a photo during a respite from his rounds at Hospicio Cabañas.

 
 
 

“I need to sit for a while,” the policeman says in Spanish as he eases himself down at the opposite end of the bench from where I am sitting at Hospicio Cabañas.
 
No hablo español,” I reply.
 
So, he switches to English. “I need to practice my English,” he says with a smile.
 
During our brief conversation, I learn that the policeman, Jose Luis, was born in Acapulco, but came to Guadalajara as a young man. He became a policeman at age 26, and is looking forward to retiring from the police force in three years, when he turns 55.
 
“What will you do then?” I ask.
 
“I want to work with my hands,” he says as he displays his broad, powerful hands for me to admire. “Construction, I think.”
 
In the meantime, he pulls guard duty at Hospicio Cabañas, often making his rounds at night.
 
“There used to be a lot of children here,” he says of the former workhouse, orphanage, hospital and almshouse, “and some of them are still here.”
 
“Do you mean ghosts?” I ask.
 
“Yes, the spirits of some of the children are still in this place. Especially boys. I hear them playing futbol and laughing in the darkest hours of the night.”
 
 

stillness at midnight—
even the mice stop gnawing
the old foam pillow

 

Text and photo © 2016 by Mark M. Redfearn, all rights reserved

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2 responses »

  1. That stillness… is my favorite thing in all the world… really enjoyed this story and haiku Mark! Wishing you all the best this coming new year and so grateful for being able to step into your world through your words and images!

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