Deer; Eucalyptus; Test Results


Glint of you twitching
two ways at once.

Hard bodies
of cars growl
helplessly, slam
to break.

Watch for terror
your alien eyes 
and moan through fingers
stuttered, lit,
too close 
as temptation fattens 
under shafts of light.

You are most powerful 

Limerence, seems there is no setting the gun
of relation back down.

Your head
on fire.

All day I wonder what to do.

Wish I could walk
until the light is all that enters me
but the demand 
of it is two-fold.

The smell 

Reflections all summer burned my eyes
while I rode home 
& I read them over 
like - is there lateness deep enough
to dig into? 

Night with its wide face & I want to smother it.

Can’t stand what calls attention
like how I locked myself in the bathroom
& ignored the smoke
delivering tall towers.

Did you have any way of learning what was best?

The weed grandma left
is almost gone now
& the tin knows where it came from.

I can’t believe the stories. 

Porcelain poodle coke stash
I still have so many questions. 
Test Results

The old ones seem less real now,
like fault
combing back
for the last cigarette
she smoked. There was hardly air
left under the awning. 

But from inside 
her thoughts rolling 
off from the top of some bucket
already owned by thirst, doubt.

The rest came down chattering
to drum on us
and grudges turned
around silly.

I read it again. He didn't call.
For once,
me waiting at the receiver
and distance digging in. 

This guy on the bus today had it right,
driving his fists, the windows,
until anger swayed me to stand 
at the peak, his
"I want off this thing!"

And if I also beat 
back the oncoming: the things I'd have to say
never knowing what I should.


Payton Messersmith is a gender-ambivalent artist/poet living in the Pacific Northwest with their cat, Kino. In his spare time, he enjoys taking unplanned walks, reading, and creating.