The Revenant
by Julie Chappell

The jalapeño pepper lay flaccid on the floor
impotent to save itself for better things.

Honky tonkers came in at the gentlemen’s door,
stepping over the little bit of once shiny green,
once growing on a vine
alive and, by autumn,
full red it might have been
but for the hands that plucked it
as it basked in the summer heat.

This shiny green pepper stirred in with duller green
—avo and lime—
this little pepper might have been the heat,
the spark setting fire to a festive night
the light for an obscure romance,
the burn on a tongue quenched by salty margarita—

What a life it might have had!

laying there
stepped over, neglected
not garbage, not food—

a revenant of heat,
cooling in the air.

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