William Rieppe Moore
Boone Gap, Kentucky
Summer is a-comin’ in, and I can
feel it in the freckled-dwarf irises
purplin’ the green behind the grass
where the ground has been
cured, where the rooster was like
to take up his post and crow
to cover our ears like snow on
the mountain—skittered on sidebark
roadsigns, and gourdhomes westerly,
where the wind blew it in—callin’
hens to re-enter the ark another time
while the land floods with darkness
(even a darkness lightened by the
moon’s snow-studded albedo).
In the upper places, the last tapers
lit by the sheered sun—glow of airburst
sparks the rooster’s throat ’fore he thrusts
his neck after it, cock-a-doodlin’.
Tellico Plains, Tennessee
My shadow is a fool and
stumbles deep into the dirt
like lightning bugs—epibionts
rootin’ in summer air of night.
You wouldn’t neer believe
how I snuffed it like a wick
between my slickrock fingertips.
Its chammy wings fluted like
a ripple of light on the South
Fork of Citico, as horny heads
burrow their youth into stone
and nudge the water on.
After wading up where pools
turned water a dash faster
than the speed of ice,
light fell through branches
shaped like broken glass that
could cut a body in the foot.
Stoney Creek, Tennessee
Things unlike to be unlearned:
the crude-oil weight of a starling
in hand; a broken hatch of
possums salvaged from the pouch
of a mother who never could have
expected hot lead pellets
at the end of my barrel, while I
never would have guessed
her lit green eyes were not that
suckegg racoon’s; northwestern
wind that could rake a soul away
with the leaves; a stickbroom
left to watch trees by the porch
and survey the branchwave
that gave it form. Keep these
things in a poke of thoughts.
Make them hold their own
in any given light.
William Rieppe Moore is from Richland County, South Carolina, and moved to Unicoi County, Tennessee in 2012. His poetry received a Pushcart Prize nomination from American Diversity Report, finalist in Driftwood’s 2022 In-House Poem Contest, and can be found in James Dickey Review, Still: The Journal, Chronicles, Terrain.org, and elsewhere.