never meant to show signs at a wedding always meant to save until later but oh how it made his mother smile when the clear water overflowed into rich red wine when there was abundance, a renewal of flowing fountains. it was there that celebration came to be it was there, between beloved creations be-loving each other that he saw such love up close in real time he was there, drinking his fill, miracles no longer waiting. Aromantic Jesus retreats from the crowds, holds fast to faith in solitude refills his cup before greeting the fishermen takes a shaky breath at the speed the crowds find him, hail him, press up against him how fast they will befriend, and then how fast they will go how fast the romance calls, love of the way things are how fast he holds them, regards them, dear people, how quickly it all goes— oh to stop the rivers of time, the drink from emptying to command stillness from the tempest, and sleep in this boat, gently rocking. Aromantic Jesus walks the straightforward path to the well, sees the beautiful Samaritan woman he knew before she was woman born. how she stares with startled, skeptical eyes, how she puzzles over his proximity. how their voices soon exchange into bridges and gateways and the natural reaches of light, heavenly organic light. through her, he confirms, humans indeed have hope. through her, he finds himself. later, they gawk as if he'd forgotten the rules of their journeying. I have food you know nothing about, he says, not missing a beat. He never forgot the rules. They forgot the goodness. Aromantic Jesus wonders— not regrets, but wonders— if he had chosen to come formed into flesh that would respond, into a body that felt the pull of the tide into sparking favorites— would he have more time, then? Could he linger, cling to the earth longer with all the trivial hormonal distractions loving one and then another, unfocused on the world? But he so loved the world, and he so loved his kin that here in the fields under the stars, while foxes have their dens and birds their nest, he had nothing but his eternal love nothing but his soul and the world and a cup not taken from him. Aromantic Jesus looked at them and loved them— the late night whispering against midnight chill with questions of old, the earth-smudged souls resting, alive, in flowering fields, their created splendor the men who dared drop their nets to follow, the women who dared against all question to touch him, the wilderness, garden, and city as one. He breaks the bread, sobering: I have food you know nothing about feeling the chill in his throat This is my body, broken for you he cannot himself heal— This is my blood, spilled anticipates the solitude—take it— the piercing, tumultuous, passionate starvation of —remember me— Love to come. This is my body. He tries to ground this moment, to nail it into the history of the world.
Beeper Peddle is a writer and healer living on the East Coast. She lives with her partner and their beloved soul puppy. Beeper writes about sorrows, lies, and deep loves. When you read her work, you will dip down into her heart and end up in all manner of body parts. Should you find yourself reflected in these words, it is merely coincidence; however, it does not surprise her you share the same heart. Find her at bethpeddle.com and @beeperpeddle on Twitter and Instagram
Ellen Huang (she/her) is an aro/ace writer of fairy tales and speculative fiction. She holds a BA in Writing + Theatre minor from Point Loma Nazarene University and a Peer Reviewer position for Whale Road Review. She is published/forthcoming in 75 venues, including Sword & Kettle Press, Tealight Press, Kissing Dynamite, Nymphs, briars lit, Serendipity Lit, Rhythm & Bones, Aze Journal, and Amethyst Review. She also runs a blog where in examines spirituality alongside cinema and folklore: worrydollsandfloatinglights.wordpress.com. Much of her work is grounded in themes of progressive faith and platonic love.
**This poem was nominated for Best of the Net in 2021.