A. H. Jerriod Avant




church begins in the mouth as a hook

I can not soothe and never saw coming


beyond this watery realm, muddy and murder-ridden,

baiting is a ritual, pierced and laid against inquisitive steel,


a fetching of the hungry, gathering of predators

to feast of the one we know loses, the one


I know wins, knows the insides of the one who loses,

the stovetop mural is a grease splattered pool


of the ones who’ve gone before the one who loses,

baptized by its crackle and kiss, washing clean the


predatory soul of the one who fills me, I am

elegant-gloved for serving the one from the muddy


world of honeysuckle-laden levees and larger breeds

of itself, swimmer of lakes and rivers, grey and blue


sliver of steel capturing me blind behind worm

and cricket, flickering paths just beneath the window


of the surface of the river, where the spirit breaks

its invited calm, Holy Ghost shaking off the mud


and wet of the river, back-ward dive into the thick

boil of June and hunger is the meal we both swallow,


all the way down to the bone, its jut and prick

against throat, the pull the teeth give to the skeleton


is a level of wanting I dare deny,

in the midst of my shout and needy heave


for what sits gracefully calm

inside the bones of me.

Ghazal for Pops



how small my two soles at the end of me

planted engraved swirlings curved permanent at the end of me


from foundations fortress fit like a rock inside a rock

I was silent till the history of his voice took wind of me


like a throat held hostage by the hand, I obeyed

now I see his ways, ungroomed, raw, transcending me


each day has a posture, stern, we’ve crafted from the mold

like a steel beam extending from the start to the end of me


his soul swirls with mine, dancing, apprehending me

peerlessly drenched in glorious rustic, endlessly scenting me



A. H. JERRIOD AVANT is a native of Longtown, Mississippi. A graduate of Jackson State University, he was selected to participate in Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop in 2012 and 2013 at Brown University in Providence RI. A 2013 Pushcart nominee, his poems have appeared in The Louisville Review, PLUCK!, A Narrow Fellow, The Rumpus, Callaloo, H_NGM_N and are forthcoming from Lumberyard. Jerriod is currently an M.F.A. candidate and Writer in the Public Schools Fellow at New York University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.