You Are Here by Joseph Hesch

As he doodled on the blank page, filling it with circles and arrows and hoping that Freud was right and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, Andrew prayed that the old lightning would strike and worried that another type already had. The pen dragged along, as if it didn’t want to do more than mark 360 degrees of empty that Andrew dutifully filled in with blue ink. His pen then would escape the darkened interior by way of a slim curved line he ended with an equilateral triangle. The words wouldn’t come, but the images, cloudy and momentary as they were, did. Occasionally they would coalesce under another flash of near recognition, indescribable things that left a ghostly face, an iridescent anti-shadow, when the darkness returned, only to fade back to the void of dispirited blue. And another empty circle. Andrew heard the plaintive exhalation of a Native American flute, an expressive breath from generations left to sigh within their own emptiness. It was then he noticed his own sigh, a ghostly touch upon his hands. Not an exhalation that carried a soulful tune, but still one carrying meaning, like a word lost or even a lost world. At least one misplaced. Andrew ripped the offending page from his tablet and tossed it in the waste basket. He turned and stared hard into the bright new face of possibility until the blue lines seemed to lift off the page. He imprisoned 125 words behind them and then put down his pen, throwing away the key. It was then Andrew looked up, saw snow falling outside his window, as well as the darkness of another day wasted, overtaking the page-white hope of eight hours before. That was before empty circles became blue ones, and arrows made a run for it, only to swing their way back to the dark. Andrew imagined them saying, “You are here.”

Joseph Andrew Hesch is a writer and poet from Albany, New York. His work appears or is forthcoming in over a dozen venues, including Cossack Review, Boston Literary Magazine, With Painted Words and Pine Hills Review. His poetry collections, Penumbra: The Space Between and One Hundred Beats a Minute are available on He is currently working on his first collection of short stories and flash fiction, tentatively titled But Don’t Touch.