Unliving

by Liz Byrne

after Callum Innes’s exposed painting ‘Green Lake’

It is enough to paint a square
of black, so black it swallows
light, black as a trap-door
to the past, black as basalt.
Next to it, another black square.
Unpaint it with a brush dipped
in turpentine, unpaint until
the green inside black appears.

Focus on black absent,
a memory of black, the ghost
of black brush-strokes, green
like a beginning, or an end.
Unlive a life to begin again.
Unwrite a poem to show its bones.