from Matchsticks

Murathan Mungan

Artwork by Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee

The Scribe of Mysteries

There is no such thing as a mystery, he said.

A mystery is just deferred knowledge. Whatever God knows is known to everyone; people just don’t want to know it. They defer it, postpone it, put it off, gloss over it; they pretend not to see or understand it. Death is what people fear above all, isn’t it? But people know quite well what comes after death. They know that nothing will happen. You simply die. Nothingness. That’s all. It’s reality that people find harsh—not mysteries. That’s why they like to mystify reality. To be able to endure it. To be able to endure existence, to endure being alive. You don’t have to cope with mysteries as you do with reality. People never grow weary of mysteries.      

Who are you, anyway? I said.

And how did you sneak into this story?

Isn’t that what stories are, he replied, doors left ajar for people to sneak into? Perhaps I’m part of the mystery that wafts into you as a sound, that falls onto your page as a letter. . . Take me and give me to someone else. Don’t forget, mysteries exist to be passed on to others.

translated from the Turkish by Will Washburn

Click here to read Murathan Mungan’s poetry from the Fall 2012 issue.