The abstract ... | Kyle Guest

The abstract on the wall 



is of elastic, membranous,

orientable colour: instar of dusklit lakewater


or gold-feathered bird on ice and green night.

A glossy white frame wraps the acrylics


like the skirting that wraps the living 

room window opposite. From low a forest


rivers in the painting’s bottom third: a reflection

of trees poured from across the road, in sunlight


cut up by fat fingers of slat-silhouettes. 

Blurs of elms tendril the book I read


(on the page, a terrible fish rises toward me). 

Ravens hook into me. The reflection is elliptic:


a window-eye lidded by a veranda roof. 

It holds me in its palmleaf green iris. There


I daydream a rosella – 

one of the chicks that died inside a wall


behind the tv last year – waddles  

into frame, struts in eye-


glint on the painting’s glass 

sheath. It puffs itself up, ready to shed down


and asbestos fluff, to be an imago, but a cloud 

slowly chokes the light. A red puddle congeals


where night siphons dregs of mirror. 

Fat strips of black tape


sticky back on a crooked square 

we cut out where the wall muffled-chirped. 


A few chicklings, orphans, survived. 

Now, when the house creaks your dogs lean


over the potted ferns and sniff

the empty frame. (Their ears still prick


up when the air ribs

in two-stroke piston fire). Which warp


of colour draws you

in the painting? I remember the time


you let a ladybug crawl over your hand

onto a marigold. The rosella-dream re


aches through glass; colours shadows 

hatched on walls.







Kyle Guest is a Canberran poet, whose work seeks to discover and combine different points of view in a single form to expand a moment’s vision. His poetry has previously appeared in Cordite Poetry Review.

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