Finger Painting

Patrice Pinette


First picture a sun rising in the body of your enemy.

It may be an angry sun at first, stamped or smudged

with a  red fingerprint.

It will feel like winter all over again. Fire

on the hearth consuming itself, leaving

black ribbons, charred wands, a chill in the heart.


When night’s shadow falls like a tree

across the hands buried in your lap,

adapt to a low ceiling; go starless.

Every species that ever lived has been betrayed.

Thousands of years of disappointments

shrink us or stretch us. Someone’s bitter thumbprint,

an eclipse of the moon.


A sun is rising in the interior

of more than seven billion bodies; eyes

look out at us from their birth. Irises blue,

violet, green, and brown. The whites milky and mild.

Pride gives us silver pieces to spend in the spinning galaxy.

But the remedy for hate is to paint a sun rising

in the breast of your enemy. And then, to sleep.



Patrice Pinette teaches creative writing, literature, and eurythmy, which embodies the dance of language, in high schools and adult education institutes including Antioch University New England and CFA’s Renewal programs. Interested in the interface of poetry and the arts, she collaborates with artists and musicians in workshops and performances. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals and anthologies, and she has been a featured poet in the New Hampshire Poets Showcase. She has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Wilton, New Hampshire.