Shenandoah Volume 68, Number 1
Volume 68, Number 1 · Fall 2018

the carolina reaper

the carolina reaper is the hottest pepper

in the world. it has a heat of 2.2 million

scoville units. when you put a carolina reaper in

your mouth, it is sweet & then hot & then

unbearably hot. your eyes water. your metabolism

increases. this is a poem of facts. the carolina

reaper is named the carolina reaper because

it was first bred in south carolina & the sensation

of eating it is like death. the scoville scale

is named after wilbur scoville, a pharmacist

from bridgeport, connecticut. he shared

his name with one of the wright brothers,

a famous pig, & my boyfriend’s dog. this

is a poem of facts. the wright brothers

owned a bicycle shop & built their own

printing press. the famous pig was famous

for not being eaten. my boyfriend’s dog

is half chihuahua & half chinese crested &

is not famous. this is a poem of facts.

a chinese crested named sam held the title

of world’s ugliest dog from 2003 to 2005. sam

died in 2005, ugly until the end. he

was hairless & toothless & had bumps

of an unknown nature on his face. this

is a poem of facts. my boyfriend’s dog

is also hairless & missing most

of his teeth. the carolina reaper

is covered in bumps called blisters, as are

the mouths of those who try to eat them.

this is a poem of facts. wilbur wright

was born before the carolina reaper

& is best known for inventing the airplane, our means

of flight. he died the year wilbur scoville

invented the scoville scale & the two of them

never met. you thought this poem

was going to be a poem about peppers & instead

it is a poem about wilburs, a poem of facts

about wilburs. when wilbur the famous pig

managed not to be eaten it was because

he was saved by a spider. when wilbur

my boyfriend’s dog manages not to be eaten

it is because i love him & my boyfriend loves him

& we do not let him go outside when hawks

are around. when i say this is a poem of facts

i mean it, i mean i am being as factual as i

can. when wilbur wright died, his brother

missed him for the rest of his life.

Patrick Kindig is a PhD candidate in Indiana University’s Department of English. He is the author of the micro-chapbook Dry Spell (Porkbelly Press, 2016) and the chapbook all the catholic gods (Seven Kitchens Press, forthcoming), and his poems appear in the Journal, Meridian, Third Coast, Columbia Poetry Review, and other journals.