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.