The Hand

Mark Wyers


    The hand was not menacing. Not in the least. It glided among the pines of the park by the sea, floating on the breeze. No one knew when the hand had first appeared at the park, nor were they disturbed by its presence. It had always been there, going about its business, as did the promenaders with their sleek bare shoulders, bottles of beer, and tousled children.

    The hand was kind, in its own way. It rose up to catch balloons that floated away, stroked the heads of derelict cats, and greeted the sellers of nuts, the balloon men, and the tea and coffee vendors when they appeared on the seaside. No one knew if it slept, though it did disappear from sight at certain hours of the night. Some people did wonder, however, if the hand—which had a splintered bone extending from its wrist, not unlike a hambone—longed for more, after all those years.

    One night, the hand knocked softly on the door of the mukhtar’s home. The mukhtar opened the door, only to find the hand curling its index finger, beckoning to a copse of trees at the promontory of the park. Frowning, the mukhtar stepped into a pair of shoes and walked outside.




    The mukhtar had been killed. In a legal sense. Body in the bushes. There were some who began to suspect that the hand had a hand in it.




    I am the hand. I speak for generations. I speak for the dead, writhing underground in their shrouds like fat white caterpillars. I can write with all sincerity that I did not kill the mukhtar, despite the rumors going around. In a legal sense. The mukhtar was already dead. Had been, for hundreds of years. Body in the bushes. I am the hand. I speak for the dead, writhing in their graves like...




    At the moment of death, it was said that the mukhtar had no gender. Smooth, featureless, polished. Blood under the fingernails. Head lolling, tongue sharp. When the mukhtar was found... When the mukhtar was found, rumors abounded. That she was dead. He? The mukhtar protested, vehemently, and the hand continued to silently float in the air, nefarious in its beneficence. Floating in silent protest. 

    People breathed a sigh of relief. People sighed in mourning. The mukhtar offered a sigh. A proof of life. Rumors. Eventually, the hand... Was imprisoned. But how do you imprison a hand? It always floats. Just above the eye level of the conscience.


Mark David Wyers completed his BA in literature at the University of Tampa and his MA in Turkish Studies at the University of Arizona. From 2008 to 2013 he was the director of the Academic Writing Center at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, during which time he wrote a historical book-length study titled “Wicked Istanbul”: The Regulation of Prostitution in the Early Turkish Republic and began translating Turkish literature into English. His published translations of novels include Boundless Solitude by Selim İleri, As the Red Carnation Fades by Feyza Hepçilingirler, The King of Taksim Square by Emrah Serbes, The Pasha of Cuisine by Saygın Ersin and The Peace Machine by Özgür Mumcu. His translations of Turkish short stories have been published in anthologies and journals such as Transcript, Absinthe, Istanbul in Women’s Short Stories, Europe in Women’s Short Stories from Turkey, and Aeolian Visions/Versions: Modern Classic and New Writing from Turkey.