SSM: “The Sky as John Saw It the Night Kate Sparkled” by Molly Gaudry

12 May

When I first read this story a couple years ago, I remember thinking of 2 of my favorite Russell Edson poems, “The Pilot” and “The Taxi.” I don’t remember why I thought of them, except perhaps that 1 has this underlying, quiet sadness to it, and the other an overt and spastic glory. And perhaps in retrospect, I recognized both in this story by Molly Gaudry.

The sky rolled up and fell through the hole in Kate’s roof and bounced from her forehead and floated to the floor, upon which it made a crinkly sound as it brushed the hem of her bed skirt. As it brushed the hem of her bed skirt, she sat up and said, “Who’s there?”

“Who’s there?” she said. She said it one more time, then got out of bed and found the rolled up sky hiding behind a plant stand holding ivy. Behind the plant stand holding ivy, she bent, and the rolled up sky trembled when she picked it up. She picked it apart and it resisted when she tried to unroll it. She tried to unroll it and it sighed. It sighed wide open and the stars exploded in her face.

Read the full story at Abjective.

Perhaps it’s the underlying sort of magic in it, that naturally, the sky would roll up into a scroll, that when someone would unroll it, the starts would explode in their face an all-consuming glitter. Naturally. Perhaps that’s why I recognized a magic like Edson’s poetry, where spectacular events just happened without hesitance or explanation, where spectacular events didn’t need explanation.

The story knocked something loose in me. It showed me how language can move and play, which was something I think I’d lost at some point in my undergraduate studies. It’s something I’ve always appreciated about Molly’s writing, whether in this story or in her novella in verse, We Take Me Apart.

In a review I once wrote about WTMA (and the same sentiment holds true for this story), I described Molly’s language as cartwheeling, because from what I remember of cartwheeling as a kid, it was something not everyone could pull off, but something that when pulled off by someone capable it contained an unanswerable grace, an awe that giggles up from inside you, that makes you want to try it yourself.

One Response to “SSM: “The Sky as John Saw It the Night Kate Sparkled” by Molly Gaudry”

  1. tlgobble May 12, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Cartwheeling is an excellent term for this language. The ending strikes me as a shift in both story and style, but I think it works here. Cool stuff.

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